Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Demona: Metal Through the Time (2012)

It’s Speed Metal

Let’s talk about genre for a minute.

I know, you’re probably sick of this endless, ridiculous debate. On the one hand, you have people who hate classification of music in any form, and on the other, you have the people who want to explain the ins and outs of Eastern European psychedelic pirate metal. (I’m a lot closer to the second camp.) But wherever you fall, you have to admit that some genre identifiers are more useful than others. Take black metal, for instance. If both classic Darkthrone and recent Wolves in the Throne Room are equally described by the same two words, then it cuts a pretty broad swath. On the other hand, there’s speed metal. That’s a pretty specific genre. Stray too far in one direction, you become thrash metal; a little further left and you’re black metal; if you pull back too far, then you’re just plain heavy metal.

Which brings us to the subject of Demona. Demona is a speed metal band. That tells you a lot of what to expect, right there.

Vocalist/guitarist Tanza began Demona as a one-woman band in 2007, releasing a handful of splits, EPs, and demos. Now based out of Canada, and a full band, they have released their first full-length. Metal Through the Time sounds exactly like what you’d expect: extremely fast picking, the d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-d-daaaaaaa, da-da of speed metal on pretty much every song, with mandatory solos. The performances are very high energy and extremely solid on all fronts, and the production has captured a quality sound without sacrificing any of the soul of a live take. The only real issue I have with performance or sound is the vocals, which are usually what you’d expect, but sometimes take on a lazy spoken-word quality or a weird squeak.

The record could be a lot better with one major improvement, however. At 45 minutes, it’s too long for a speed metal record. The genre is so restrictively undynamic that anything over a half hour is stupid; the whole thing turns into a blur. This may come as a shock, but Tanza doesn’t have the charisma of Lemmy, or even Cronos. It’s sad especially because the last few tracks are some of the best, but by the time they arrive you’re probably already tired of it.

In short, this is a very solid band that would be awesome to see live, but they should pull the plug at 30 minutes.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Dying Victims Productions

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