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Haeresiarchs of Dis - "Dis" (Demo)

Haeresiarchs of Dis - "Dis" Demo cover image

"Dis" track listing:

1. Black Prophecies (5:39)
2. Chaos Plague (5:20)
3. Wolfmoon (4:43)
4. Manifestation (1:06)
5. Tangible Hatred (5:38)

Reviewed by on June 4, 2010

"...a solid investment for those who crave their black metal raw, frozen, and atmospheric."

Prior to the launch of a second album, the atmospheric and raw black metal act Haeresiarchs of Dis decided to re-release the early demo simply titled “Dis.” Featuring one extra track that takes the demo closer to a full-length run time, “Dis” is a dark look into the origins of the band and a reflection of the evil yet to come. The bindings aren’t quite as tight as on later efforts and there are some missed opportunities, but despite all that it’s still classic lo-fi black metal that belongs on the playlist of any church burners out on a frigid winter night.

It’s important to note going in that a re-release of a first demo is still a first demo. The symphony theme of the “Overture” album (reviewed here) hadn’t been developed yet, and there isn’t nearly as much ambience. The basis of the band’s sound is still there though, and that’s what is really showed off. Like with “Overture,” the tracks are all at a decent length of around five minutes. The songs also have several transitions apiece, which provides enough meat to chew on to actually make a demo worth someone’s time.

“Black Prophecies” gets started off right in a creepy place, with the sound of an old spinning music box playing the tune of the “Silent Night” Christmas carol. The fuzz and reverb in the background is clearly audible, but it works in favor of the both the music and the stylistic direction. At times it almost seems like the demo was given a lo-fi sound on purpose to give the music more atmosphere, and not because of any technical limitations.

“Wolfmoon” also goes for the sound effect intro, using a baying of wolves in the distance to incite dread. While these little intros and interludes give a nice change of pace, it’s a tragedy that they weren’t thoroughly mixed with any of the songs during the metal mayhem. The disturbing feeling of the music box would have been perfect fodder for an atmospheric segment worked directly into the guitars and drums. A little more integration would have resulted in songs that could have torn down the very gates of heaven, instead of just managing to get Beelzebub’s nod of approval.

The album is black metal through and through, but there are a few instances where the guitar leans towards thrash and gets close enough to upbeat to induce fist pumping instead of suicidal thoughts. Eventually the demo always returns to true Haeresiarchs of Dis form, however. The distorted guitar is used for chilling effect to become an instrument of horror and dread instead of a head banging tool.

“Dis” isn’t quite a masterpiece, as the vocals sound they were recorded through a tin can from the opposite end of a hallway, and “Chaos Plague” does have a bit too much of the blast beating. Even with those down points, it’s still a solid investment for those who crave their black metal raw, frozen, and atmospheric.

Highs: Classic lo-fi black metal sound with some fist pumping segments.

Lows: Vocals suffer from the low end production, and the atmospheric interludes should have been integrated into the music.

Bottom line: "Dis" is an unrelentingly evil lo-fi black metal demo that makes the sound quality work with the music.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

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)