Reviewed: [January 2022]
Released [2021 Self-Released]
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Kinda lost this one in the shuffle of late summer stuff, but glad I stumbled upon it while sifting through end of the year stuff. The debut EP from Demonicera delivers Swedish-style death metal by way of Austria with a few twists along the way to separate these guys from so many other HM-2 pedal-pushing revivalists that seem to keep coming out of the woodwork 30 years after the fact.
Sure, the quintet’s rabble is redolent with that unmistakable buzz-saw guitar tone. But of the four tracks here only “Butchered Alive” revisits vintage Entombed/Dismember/etc. the whole way through, and even here frontman Sam Fernandez’s growl-and-shriek vocal back and forth lends it some added bite. Elsewhere, things are much less derivative.
The title track opens the EP with thick grooves, an almost funky backbone and electronic splashes, giving the song something of a “modern metal” feel without laying things on too thick. And the riffs will still sandpaper your face, so there’s that too. “Extinction of Nihil” also brings grooves in abundance, along with some blast-beaty sprints and spider-walky guitar flourishes and harmonies for a hint of power metal panache.
The band wrap things up with “Vomit on the Grave of Christ,” a tune that is epic as it is sacrilegious. Gregorian chants, Eastern hues, death march tempos and methodical riffs that grind away without mercy for nearly eight minutes make it a genuinely grand finale.
It’s taken a while for Demonicera to really get things going. Formed in 2015 by guitarist Rene Gattermair, the band’s “Extinction of Nihil” demo was issued in 2017 and released again as a single a year later. “Butchered Alive” was released as a single in 2019 and now comes the EP with those two songs again and the new title track and “Vomit.”
But the time seems to have been well spent, even if there’s not much quantity to show for the effort. Demonicera have certainly honed their sound to murderous precision. And the newer songs offer both a more dynamic presentation and distinct personality without losing the gritty heaviness. Blasphemous Thoughts makes for a pretty tasty appetizer. Let’s hope these guys don’t keep us waiting too long for the main course.