(We present DGR‘s review of the latest album by the Indiana metal extremists Demiricous, which was released a couple weeks ago by Post. Recordings.)
What a wild world we live in when there’s a third Demiricous album out. The group were something of a fixture of the underground in the early-to-mid 2000s, with a combination of relentless touring and albums that skirted around on the death-thrash line/full-blown Slayer worship at a relentless pace.
The band put out two albums and then activity would become increasingly sporadic from about 2010 on. Outside of a demo release, Demiricous even went into full-hibernation mode for a while, which was a bummer for those who saw promise in both the Hellbound and Poverty releases.
However, once you’ve reached the ‘fifteen years between releases’ statistic, that is when you have people going ‘what a world we live in’, because it wasn’t that long ago that Demiricous released their third album Chaotic Lethal.
It’s crazy to think it, but there’s a high likelihood, given the gap between releases and the relative spectre-like status of the band up until full re-formation, that this may be the first exposure of Demiricous to a lot of people. III: Chaotic Lethal is a hell of a starting point then, since it sounds like the band never truly stopped.
When you have a band with a long and storied career, a tour through their discography often reveals more than just the band maturing over the years. It can also be a snapshot of a scene at large and how it has shifted and changed over the years. There’s the large group of musicians who’ve become foundational pillars, who’ve resisted the temptation to meddle with their formula too much and instead have amassed large discographies that stay relatively within the same boundaries.
Yet, with most groups you have all sorts of outside influences working their way into and out of a band over the years, so that you wind up with ‘eras’ of a band where a few discs may be more death-metal-leaning, some where you can pinpoint when someone really got into black metal for a bit, shifting vocal styles, the list is endless – yet it makes a full discog runs incredibly fun. That’s why the case of a band like Demiricous is interesting. From a numbers standpoint you’d think the band were a time capsule – with a huge gap between full length releases. What in the world does a band like that do nowadays? What do they even sound like?
What makes it more interesting is that for Demiricous it never seems like they truly stopped in the leadup to Chaotic Lethal, but also because of that ‘first contact’ experience again. There’s been the rise of a real strong thrash and death metal movement, a gaining of strength in the sort of grime-covered thrash scene, an unraveling of so many death metal permutations, and heavy metal as a whole has gone through a multitude of movements in time between the full-lengths, and somehow, Chaotic Lethal sounds like it was riding right alongside them the whole time.
For those of you who weren’t around to enjoy the near-endless repeat of the group’s music video for “To Serve Is To Destroy” way back in the MTV2 Headbanger’s Ball days, Demiricous are a hybrid thrash/death metal group with a heavy emphasis on the thrash part. That much hasn’t changed with Chaotic Lethal and the throughline runs very deep in the band’s DNA. The new album is a little less ‘lost Slayer album’ than Poverty (Two) was – where the band got some real heavy whammy bar abuse in – but the core of constant circle pit is still the same.
Songs like “Fuck The Fire”, opener “Unconditional Hate”, and the incredibly strong title-track “Chaotic Lethal” are meant to keep you running constantly – even when they stretch well into the five-minute range. Even with one of the most commonly used chug riffs of all time, the near-end section right after the solo segments of “Terminal Future” still hits hard enough to make you want to punch a wall.
Even with its mouthful of what-the-fuck name that is “Merciless Slut Cult”, the three and a half minutes there are again constant movement and you’ll recognize the sort of ‘battle call’ circle pit riff the moment it hits – it’s also a lot of fun to hear vocalist/bassist Nate match the band behind him for rapid-fire delivery on that one as well.
Chaotic Lethal still plays it pretty close to the core of what Demiricous have been all these years. The music is still as dirt and grime covered as ever and a large chunk of this tracklist is purpose-built for moshing – as is required by genre foundations. Drummer Dustin Boltjes has plenty of room to kick the everliving hell out of the drum kit and even the moodier songs like “Smoke Chaser” and “Choke” – keep in mind, lightly moody in atmospherics, they’re still as mean and teeth-gnashing as everything else here – get a solid ass-kicking by the band as a whole. It’s easy to appreciate any chance Demirious take to just discharge wall-to-wall blastbeats in between a solid double-bass roll.
With all of those elements in play and the core of Demiricous still sounding stunningly like how they did way back when they first put out Hellbound and Poverty almost back-to-back, its interesting that III: Chaotic Lethal holds up just as strong. If anything, now that we’ve been through a couple of cycles of thrash-revivalism, it actually holds up a little stronger. It’s a good mark for the band to have gone beneath the ground as long as they did and then to show up again and have the newest release hit just as hard as when they were first putting out albums.