Released: 2013, UKEM Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Scottish duo Demonic Cremator have been dragging sonic mayhem from the pits of the Underworld since 2009. Four years later, they're spitting out equally-fiendish third work, 'Suffer In Hellfire', to inevitably raucous applause from dyed-in-the-wool traditionalists, and anyone else requiring a soundtrack to the odd bit of flesh-devouring.
From pummelling opener 'Slack Jawed' to the chromatic sustain of closer 'Toxic Life', 'Suffer In Hellfire' is nothing less than a swirling cauldron of evil. Drenched in the rasps and merciless rhythms of ex-Unholy Deathcunt's Asphyxiator, with guitar and bass work courtesy of Necrotica that is ferocious enough to skin a goblin, the album is a no-fucking-about assault on the lugholes with intent to kill. Influences from Celtic Frost, Mayhem and Ravencult seep through, but the cutthroat chugs of the title-track and highlight number 'Enchained' also evoke the vintage, thrashier hues of Venom, Bathory and Overkill. Featuring screaming divebombs and eerie melodies weaving through the aggression and scything vocals, this is a complex and interesting creation that secures one of the cardinal rules of thrash: every track is a melting pot of riffs, and each pot is strong and unique enough to survive in a stand-alone context, while also blending perfectly with the rest of the record when unleashed in consecutive fury.
It wields one niggling thorn however, which is a problem for any album of orthodox leanings and which prevents the greatness of each individual track being properly heard: the production. Before I deliver insult, I might add that old-school fans will no doubt love its faithful buzz-saw distortion and rivers of reverb; it's about as echoey and rackety as any old-guard black-metaller could possibly want. But the grooves, instrumental proficiency and song-writing underneath deserve exposure; a more modern approach to capturing what is an otherwise stellar offering of blackened thrash would have shown off its contents better.
When listened to without scrutiny as it is, all separate intricacies are in danger of being submerged and becoming an amorphous mass of fuzz. Having said that, the authenticity that the sound adds to the record cannot be denied: the work's ability to bridge the classic vibes of both Scandinavian black-metal melodies and pulverising 80s thrash tempos is testament to keen musicianship, and the promise of plenty more dark treats where this came from.
Although it requires a little delving beneath the noise and a little nostalgia to reap its true benefits, 'Suffer In Hellfire' is a scorching work. In fusing confidence, primitive rawness and balls of black steel, it really is a credible listen, and well worth checking out.
Review by Rhiannon Marley