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Demonical - "Darkness Unbound" (CD)

Demonical - "Darkness Unbound" CD cover image

"Darkness Unbound" track listing:

1. Darkness Unbound (1:24)
2. The Order (2:15)
3. An Endless Celebration (3:18)
4. Contempt and Conquest (3:41)
5. King of All (5:09)
6. The Healing Control (3:20)
7. Hellfire Empire (3:17)
8. Words are Death (2:30)
9. Deathcrown (4:25)
10. The Great Praise (6:46)

Reviewed by on December 27, 2013

"For fans of pure death metal that don’t particularly want any other genres intruding on the sound, this will be an immensely satisfying release..."

With the exception of the atmospheric intro track, “Darkness Unbound” doesn’t bother with any of the frilly nonsense that stands in the way of an extreme metal auditory assault. Demonical’s latest album is pure, straight-up death metal that just simply obliterates through blasting drums, heavy riffs, and deep growls. The production on this release is more thick and sludgy than crisp, but it really works in the album’s favor and creates a strong full-bodied sound.

Most of the tracks are on the shorter side, getting straight to the point and then moving along, but those three minute offerings are all unyielding in their quest to serve up brutal death metal. For fans of pure death metal that don’t particularly want any other genres intruding on the sound, this will be an immensely satisfying release and perhaps even top 10 of the year material.

On the flip side of that equation, “Darkness Unbound” will hold less appeal if you want your metal more varied and multifaceted. The drumming, for instance, is fast and furious, but it’s also pretty repetitive and doesn’t really break out of any of the standards for the genre. Through all the blasting galore and quick cymbal taps there are several songs where the drum segments are pretty indistinguishable from one another. The only real changes in sound come on the two longer cuts off the disc, “King of All” and “Deathcrown.” The former slows down (without letting up on the heaviness of course) for a doom-tinged experience, while the later offers a needed tempo change part way through.

“Darkness Unbound” has a little bit of groove or melody every now and again, along with the occasional brief dip into the waters of doom, but overall sticks to tried and true death metal territory. The end result is solid but perhaps unremarkable: It doesn’t change the rules of the game by any means, but in this case that can be a strength, because Demonical performs this style of metal at a masterful level. If you dig Swedish death metal from Hypocrisy to Bloodbath, put this one on your Christmas list.

Highs: Unrelenting in its heaviness and top-notch sound and musicianship.

Lows: There's nothing innovative going on, and the album could have used a few changes for a more varied experience.

Bottom line: Demonical unleashes the darkness and doesn't let up with the brutality for a short but sweet death metal experience.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)