At the end of April this year the Indian black metal band Démonos released their astounding debut album Anno Daemonium. Over the space of two consecutive Shades of Black columns we attempted to review it, in stages that aligned with the unfolding of the album’s tracks. Experiencing it that way created increasing surprises that were difficult to sum up. The path through the album is not a straight and narrow one. As we wrote in the second phase of the review:
“That trip sometimes feels like being caged with a feral beast and no way out. At other times it feels like someone slipped acid under your tongue without your knowing until it kicked in. At still other times, you might feel teleported into a burial ground as a piano plays a hopeless lament, with the wails of mourners in the background, or into a sonic aurora borealis that glitters and drifts in wondrous colors while the bass throbs.”
And all that happens in just the second song, “Vesper Evocation“, which further includes the solemn tones of a church organ at the end.
We spent several substantial paragraphs here attempting to describe the experience of the three-part opening track “Magma Stigmata“, and there are still five more to come after those two. With each one, Démonos manages to bring in something you haven’t heard in the preceding tracks, both vocally and instrumentally, and in their moods. In other words, there are surprises galore, some of them like sorcery, some of them frightening, some of them spellbinding, some of them ugly, none of them dull.
Today we have the chance to further highlight the album’s third song, “Your Ascension is a Mere Illusion“, thanks to a fascinating video for it that we’re now premiering. The song itself is fascinating, in both its inspiration and its effects on the listener. Here is what Démonos says about its subject:
“This song is about spiritual possession. The artist aligns with the obscure, occult and often profane (though considered sacred) artform of Kulasai tradition of folk performers from Tamilnadu, India.
“These performers, mostly men, dress up as ancient goddesses and demigods during the darkest and fiery nights of Vijayadashami (The tenth night of the war and ultimate victory of the Goddess over demon Mahishasura) are allegedly possessed by the soul cleansing spirits. They act as conduits towards those who seek spiritual refuge. Divine blessings of the Most High are sought by all attendees off these performers or rather human conduits who in fact belong to the lowest of the low castes in the archaic caste system of India.
“This trance-spiritual biomalevolent hymn is an ode to these nameless masked conduits…. “Your Ascension is a Mere Illusion” is a walk in the direction of infusing the terrifying, the obscure and the unknown with raw black metal sensibilities, that paves the way forward for Démonos.”
The song includes an oration from Kali Sahasranamam by Debapriya Chatterjee. In addition to the work of the band’s principal creative force Démonos Obscurís (vocals, guitars, and more), it also includes drumming by Ananya Blastphegor Patil and significant contributions by co-composer Rohit Raghupathy (piano, lead and bass guitar, additional programming and samples, sound design and mixing/mastering).
All of the performers are visible in the accompanying video we’re presenting, along with film of the folk rituals that feed into the song’s thematic subjects.
All together, the contributors to the song have created an experience in “Your Ascension is a Mere Illusion” that’s one of the more frightening on the new album. The persistent needling whine and shrill shrieking of the guitars create a malign and dismal atmosphere, even with bursts of riot in the drumming and the supernatural, spine-tingling oratory, which seems to echo within temple walls. The guitars also dart, writhe, and roil, as if in the throes of demonic possession, and the drums blast away as if also taken over by the same spirits.
Suddenly things change, with occult male chants coming in over lively strumming, jazz-like bass lines, and rapid cymbal ticks. It’s an intriguing, though brief, interlude before the searing whine and whir of the guitars and the percussive blasting resumes, punctured by terrorizing screams, everything caught up again in evil raptures.
The video was created by Roy Dipankar (Royville Media) and was filmed at Onomato Studios, India, with archival footage selected by the filmmaker.
The album Anno Daemonium is available to stream and buy via the links below. We’re also including the previously released visualizer video for the album’s opening track “Magma Stigmata“.
YT Music: https://tinyurl.com/demonos-anno-daemonium-ytmusic
Apple Music: https://tinyurl.com/demonos-anno-daemonium-apple
Amazon Music: https://tinyurl.com/demonos-anno-daemonium-amazon
Follow Démonos: https://www.facebook.com/demonosmuzik