Funny old thing, this heavy metal. Back in the day, there was a time when the Swedish Death metal scene could do no wrong – it was the epicentre of some of the most ferocious and infectious records. Perhaps it is the old thing of familiarity breeding contempt rather than content, but not everything of late from the Swedish scene has been dusted in aural gold. Thank heavens (or should I say thank the Satanic depths?) then, for the return of Demonical and this brutal and highly effective four track EP that doesn’t just remind everyone how this sort of thing needs to be done but reaffirms any doubts one might have had that Demonical might have softened in their old age.
Black Flesh Redemption (Agonia) is a death metal EP with a blackened, scabrous heart – filthy, furious and really rather fun. In much the same way that sometimes only something nasty and dirty will satisfy, so this EP arrives, does its stuff and exits, leaving you wanting more. For a band that specialise in dark brutality the production on this release is surprisingly perky and clean. You can hear the, dare I say it, dextrous musicianship allied to the blood curdling vocals that create the visceral thrill that only death metal can bring.
The delicious irony that death metal can be life-affirming is perhaps best extolled on ‘Throne of Perdition’ which grinds and pounds the listener into metaphoric dust. Similarly, anyone who doesn’t get a vicarious thrill from ‘Cursed Liberation’ is probably reading the wrong website.
Look, I know this and you know this: Demonical were never going to be tearing down the architecture of Swedish death metal and pushing the musical envelope. In fairness, this EP has none of those ambitions. However, as an example in how to do death metal and do it very well indeed, you could do much worse than park your ears here for a while.