(Here we have DGR‘s review of a new EP released by the Swedish band Demonical, which has been out since the end of March on Agonia Records.)
There have been a string of singles and EP releases in the past couple of months and the grouping of them has been all over the place — many consisting of bonus tracks that were on international editions or ultra-exclusive songs, others being odd experiments, and some being the more traditional “yes, we are working hard on new stuff, here’s what we’ve been up to recently”.
Demonical‘s newest EP release is along the lines of the third one, although part of the reason we’re checking in with them is due to Demonical changing vocalists, so its partly that the band are still going (which is good news, given that 2022’s Mass Destroyer was pretty strong) and partly “here’s what we’re going to sound like now” with new vocalist Charlie Fryksell at the helm.
Not to shock anyone, but the two songs present on Into Victory – the title track and a cover of The Ramones‘ “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” that plays it remarkably straight – continue Demonical‘s pattern of being particularly strong and very capable of bringing the earth-rumbling gallop that you come to this style of death metal for.
Photo by Jens Ryden
Demonical as a project are part of the wider Martin Schulman musician universe. The group initially launched after the breakup of Centinex and became the more modernized approach to death metal, while later on down the line Centinex would find themselves being revived to create a more old-school project. The two exist side-by-side for the most part, though the lineups between the two are different save for the previously mentioned shared bassist.
There was a stretch where the two did in fact have a lot of shared blood between them – notably vocalist Alexander Högbom – but in the time since, the projects have grown to have two distinct lineups, with Demonical favoring the current death metal flavorings and Centinex quickly becoming the beast which was yanked out of time.
If you love you a good bass-heavy gallop with plenty of blasts and a lot of guitar leads, Demonical are going to be your flavor. Albums like Chaos Manifesto, World Domination, and Mass Destroyer could go toe-for-toe with some of Amon Amarth‘s heaviest horse-riding rumble songs. Into Victory‘s titular song could’ve slotted in perfectly on any of those three albums, with a harsh yell and steady riff-work to guarantee circle-headbanging that will leave you with a neck-ache. It’s also very recognizably a Demonical song, so though the vocalist position may change, the band themselves don’t.
“Into Victory” is a good sample of Demonical as a whole, much in the same way that you could take a good chunk of their last few albums, randomly pick a song, and be pretty satisfied. They’re exceedingly good at doing the good-to-great style that often lends itself well to throwing an entire discography into a blender and headbanging along for four-to-five hours. That’s why singles/EP releases are exciting because, simply put, it’s more skulls for the skull throne.
The cover art for the single is gorgeous, but overall you just want the two new songs – because even a relatively straightforward cover of “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” is still pretty solid – so that Demonical can go back to being the big, swirling whirlwind of mixed-up songs that you can rock the hell out to. Charlie Fryksell fits in well, standing alongside his recent peers, and the new songs demonstrate that Demonical are still solidly positioned as one of the most solid-rumble and gallop-style death metal bands out there.