The Return to Darkness
[Three and a half stars]
As Demonic Resurrection wade into their tenth year of existence, their sound has evolved into one that’s distinct and instantly recognisable in its meld of death metal riffs/structures and melodic metal symphonies. Nowhere else is this more apparent than on their third full-length album, where the band expands on elements from their last two releases ”“ the rhythm and aggression of 2005’s A Darkness Descends and the ethereal ambience of Beyond the Darkness (2007). Opening with a spacey, grandiose intro Â”“ a trifle too long at two minutes ”“ the album only really kicks in with the frenetic blast-beats of ”˜Where Dreams and Darkness Unite’ that marries some military double bass with airy synth patches. ”˜The Warrior’s Return’ suffers for a lack of cohesiveness; the jarring, incongruous tempo changes break the song up into a pastiche of instrumental parts ”“ a flamboyant guitar solo here, a pretty keyboard patch there ”“ that never really come together as a unified whole. The mid-section of the song, when frontman Sahil Makhija turns the phrase “The warrior has returned” into an anguished war chant, could have been capitalised on to make for one visceral track but it never realises its potential.
The band channels Dark Tranquillity on ”˜The Tragedy Befallen,’ a pleasantly uptempo surprise (clearly, irony is lost on the band) and the high point of the album. Mixing some crushing riffage with a hushed, pretty keyboard mid-section, whispered, growled and sung vocals, this could well be the ”˜Apocalyptic Dawn’ of this record. ”˜The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance,’ another crushing headbanger is sure to become a live favourite; ”˜Bound by Blood, Fire and Stone’ mixes catchy riffs with some heavily processed vocals and ”˜Lord of Pestilence’ ties together three musically distinct sections into a not always successful 11-minute opus. The album concludes with ”˜Omega, I’ that’s part Fear Factory, part Eighties synthpop/Eurodisco cleverly bleeding into ”˜Beyond the Darkness’ from their previous release. This album’s fatal flaw is its length; cut every song, every riff progression to half its length and the record would hit twice as hard. But on the whole, this is the tightest, best produced and most complete album from the band so far and though it takes a few listens to really sink your teeth into it, this is definitely a grower.
Key tracks: ”˜The Tragedy Befallen,’ ”˜The Unrelenting Surge of Vengeance’