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DEMONIC RESURRECTION – A Darkness Descends

  • Review by: Ishaan Kumar

A cymbal sounds, the resonance only to be cut short by a haunting set of chimes played against a dark, orchestral atmosphere. The tune could send a chill down the spine of those who least expected it. A dark power is rising, his legions are marching towards civilization, the obliteration of mankind is no longer a distant nightmare…

Though the above mentioned dark power may not be real, the force that is bringing us that apocalyptic soundtrack definitely is. Prepare to welcome the monoliths of Indian metal, Demonic Resurrection. This album is probably one of the best examples of sticking to your guns in times of great adversity, because it definitely was no joyride for this band from the start. What started out as a nearly failed project due to the close-mindedness of some people has now thrown it RIGHT back into the faces of those who were passing this band off as a joke. ‘A Darkness Descends’ never for once gives you the impression that its only a band’s second release and their first major one at any rate.

The tune I spoke about (called Prelude to Darkness) sets the tone running just right for the next song Dreams of the Dead‘, a song slightly oriented towards death metal with a traditional 5/4 minor sludge battery. This is what Demonic Resurrection do best; not for once letting you relax into the idea that the band plays just one style of music. The song quickly enter black metal mode with haunting keys and dual ‘demonic’ vocals. The song that follows, it is the uncanny Apocalyptic Dawn, now famous enough thanks to its inclusion on the ‘Global Metal’ soundtrack. And for good reason. The song starts with a symphonic arpeggio that gives way to a beautiful solo-laden power metal section which soon becomes a symphonic black metal barrage and then back to a power metal style portion but with death growls. The song has various such soundscapes, some dark and sinister and some almost romantic. Its a trait that is found throughout the album. The next song Behind the Mask of God tackles the issue of religion, a deviation from the fantastical lyrical themes found on the preceding songs. The song after is one innovatively written piece called Carnival of Depravity. The song starts totally unexpectedly with an accordian-based fanfare. The tune almost makes you flip through the CD sleeve to ensure that its not a ‘Mera Naam Joker’ cover. But the second that all the fanfare dies down to be replaced by a spooky piano riff, one is reassured of what he is listening to. The rest of the song is a dark melange of black and death metal. The next song is another crowd favourite in India, Spirits of the Mystic Mountains, a song that starts with an almost magical flute intro that plays scenes from ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ in the listener’s head. The whole song has a very power metal feel to it, especially the chorus section sung clean.

Where Shadows Lie is a tribute to the global metal community’s favourite author J.R.R Tolkien. This album is full of such tributes, right from the fantasy-themed power metal sections to the eternal black metal inquisition of God and Jesus Christ. The song that follows is the title track, an almost all-out power metal song complete with the ‘lone rider’ theme. The fact that impresses me among others about this album is the homogeneity of the songwriting. Having claimed to start their own brand of metal called ‘Demonic Metal’ (a mix of black, death and power metal), the band has consistently delivered songs where the 3 genres just gel together like ingredients of a cocktail to create a fresh new sound. There isn’t a moment where one feels that a new song has started within a particular song just so that the band can somehow stuff all those different genres into a piece. One classic example of this is Frozen Portrait. The song has almost the PERFECT intro tune played on warm strings with a cool keyboard atmosphere; a tune that has the right quantities of romanticism, mystery and the supernatural, and even more special with the cleanly sung vocal hook. A tune that gives way to a blistering onslaught of an over driven tune that reeks of epic. The various portions in the rest of the song just make the whole experience of listening to this song magical.

Now, this album is good, but its not perfect. There are a few low points, like the vocals. The cleanly sung parts are well executed, but the death growls just don’t hit the mark. But since this is a 2005 album, I have seen the band live enough times after that to assure you that this drawback has been worked on. Also, the snare volume needs to reduce. Its not as irritating as its counterpart on Metallica’s ‘St. Anger’, but it can be improved.

The penultimate song The Summoning is more of a straightforward black metal track that explodes into your ears but with a bit of an unconventional time signature. And as with other songs, it does not stay black metal throughout but keeps giving the listener more to look forward to. And then, like all other good things in this world, this album also has to come to an end. Overture to Glory is a victorious instrumental piece, signifying the victory of civilization over the darkness that had descended. At the same, also reminding us that darkness never ends, it just recedes for some time only to return again. And as long as darkness continues to return, so I’m sure will the force that has only just begun to rise. A force by the name of Demonic Resurrection.