Saturday, November 06, 2010

Demilich: Nespithe (1993)

Criminally Forgotten

I first heard of Finland's Demilich from Metallattorney. He said they "pushed the boundaries of the genre [death metal] to places it had never seen before. If it were not for Demilich's 1993 album, we would not have groups like Portal." For anyone who likes death metal or weird music, getting Nespithe (the only full-length they ever released) is a complete no-brainer.

NespitheThe vocals may be the first thing you notice, sounding something like some forgotten bullfrog-headed Egyptian god of the dead. The band is careful to note that no effects were used on the vocals. That is absolutely amazing.

But beyond the vocals, even the music is amazing and unusual. In a time when experimentation in death metal meant slowing things down a little bit like the New York scene, or focusing more on melody like the Swedish scene, Demilich went weirdly experimental. The music is so counterintuitive, it sounds like they wrote songs and then picked them apart, running them through a cipher ("Nespithe" means "the spine" and "Erecshyrinol" means "no lyrics here"). But strangely enough, every bit of it works. And remember, this is two years before Meshuggah went crazy with their polyrhythmic structrues. Are Demilich responsible for Meshuggah's experimentation--and, by extension, much of my early interest in extreme metal?

The song titles are awesome, too, especially "The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...)". It's hard to pick a highlight, because so many of the tracks on here are excellent, but "The Echo" seems to stand out ever so slightly from the rest.

The only negative thing I can say about it is the uneven production is not the best. The bass is fully audible (and one of the best parts of their sound). But it seems they accomplished that at the expense of the guitar and drums. When the music is this good, you can get past that.

Tdicverthe: This is amazing stuff, and would easily be a 5 star album if it had better production. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Here is the no-brainer part: the album is available free on the band's web site, along with everything else the band ever recorded.

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