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Demonic Resurrection - "The Return To Darkness" (CD)

Demonic Resurrection - "The Return To Darkness" CD cover image

"The Return To Darkness" track listing:

1. Between Infinity and Oblivion (2:00)
2. Where Dreams and Darkness Unite (6:00)
3. The Warriors Return (6:38)
4. A Tragedy Befallen (6:15)
5. The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance (5:03)
6. Bound by Blood, Fire and Stone (5:19)
7. Lord of Pestilence (11:29)
8. Dismembering the Fallen (6:42)
9. The Final Stand (6:17)
10. Omega, I (8:31)

Reviewed by on January 27, 2011

"Given the opportunity to present themselves in front of a wide audience, Demonic Resurrection puts on a good show with their theatrical display of symphonic black metal."

For years, India’s Demonic Resurrection conducted things on an internal level. Their first two albums were self-released on frontman Sahil “The Demonstealer” Makhija’s record label, Demonstealer Records. It wasn’t until Candlelight Records got wind of the band that their stock rose, enough so that they were signed to a deal for “The Return To Darkness.” Now metal heads all over the world can get a taste of the epic, symphonic black metal Demonic Resurrection puts together. Except for the standard instrumental intro, there is no such thing as conventional for the band. Lengthy and tough to digest, “The Return To Darkness” is not immediate, but wins itself over with a determined sound and non-linear song structures.

With an average time of six minutes per track, this is far from simplistic music. The band loves to throw in sections of clean vocals and bouncy keyboards to vary the harsh tempo. It’s an approach that has been done before, and Demonic Resurrection’s execution lies somewhere in the middle. “A Tragedy Befallen” incorporates it quite well, with a soothing clean outro lending a momentary feeling of tranquility. However, “Where Dreams And Darkness Unite” has vocals that are too processed, and bland guitar work to boot. This back-and-forth of quality goes throughout the album, though it becomes less of a tug-of-war near the later sections of the album.

While black metal courses through the arteries of the band’s soot-ridden heart, the progressive needle is injected to provide relief. The centerpiece of the album is the unpredictable “Lord of Pestilence.” A trip into melodic grounds starts things off in a “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” style. This lasts a few minutes, though once the heaviness kicks in, it never switches off. Eleven minutes is a long time to keep a listener tuned in, but Demonic Resurrection pulls it off. The same praise can’t be given to closer “Omega, I.” The vocal work of “The Demonstealer” is fantastic, but the music is not up to snuff. The two-minute synth-driven outro is a dull ending.

Melody is never far behind on most of the album, but a few instances of straight-laced brutality prove to be the shining moments. “Bound By Blood, Fire And Stone” is a sick anthem that puts the ass-kicking of a lifetime in the palm of the listener’s hands. It is destined to be a live favorite, a cult hit to be chanted for years to come. “Dismembering The Fallen” has a lot to live up to, coming after the awesome “Lord of Pestilence.” Instead of even attempting to outdo it, the band decides to settle down and focus on bone-rattling tremolo riffs. The album is stacked with top-notch guitar work, most notably with the 80’s shredding going on in “The Final Stand.”

The band took five years to release their third album, and during that period, they found a new guitarist and drummer. This line-up does not suffer from the jitters that can come from bands working together for only a short period. “The Return To Darkness” is a little long, coming in around 65 minutes, so patience is key in appreciating the entire body of work. Given the opportunity to present themselves in front of a wide audience, Demonic Resurrection puts on a good show with their theatrical display of symphonic black metal.

Highs: A few catchy anthems, "The Demonstealer" has a great vocal range, symphonic elements fit naturally into the music

Lows: At over an hour, it's a little too long, scattershot ideas from time to time

Bottom line: Epic black metal that can be tough to digest, but rewarding to sit through.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)