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DEMONIC RESURRECTION – The Return To Darkness

  • Review by: Madhav R

Never before has an Indian metal album been so eagerly awaited. Demonic Resurrection, one of India’s premier metal bands recently released their third studio album, ‘The Return To Darkness’ in January 2010 and we at Headbangers India gave it a spin. The verdict? Read on to find out.

Many years ago, a young man (in his teens, perhaps) named Sahil Makhija picked up a guitar and started playing basic chords and scales. Ok, so there’s nothing great about that, we’ve all been there, done that. Sahil took it one step further, added distortion and started riffing, playing songs by Metallica and Iron Maiden (he may deny it but I’m sure he did). Over the years, he found a bunch of other guys that included another guitarist, a bass player, a drummer and a keyboardist, and he formed a band.  Ok, nothing great about that too, most of us did that too. But what this young man from Mumbai has done since then is probably more than what any of us could hope to achieve in a life time. Guitarist and vocalist of India’s biggest metal band Demonic Resurrection, drummer of the brutal death metal Reptilian Death, owner of Demonstealer Records, producer of some of India’s biggest metal releases, I could go on with this list. From being something of a practical joke among the so called Indian elitist metalheads, he has become a cornerstone upon which Indian metal has been built and the proof of that is in Demonic Resurrection’s 2010 release, ‘The Return To Darkness’. This album marks the end of the Warrior’s trilogy, which began with ‘Beyond The Darkness’, passed through ‘A Darkness Descends’ and finally, ended at ‘Return To Darkness’

The moment you put the CD in, you hear the strains of ‘Between Infinity And Oblivion,’ the instrumental intro to the album. The entire feel and atmosphere of the music takes you into Middle Earth, and if you close your eyes, you can almost see the Warrior (think along the lines of Aragorn from LOTR) riding towards the dark, misty mountains, where evil dwells behind every bend. The music almost sounds ‘impatient’, if I could say that, as if to warn the listener about the impending horror. And as the next track ‘Where Dreams And Darkness Unite’ begins, you know that this is what you’ve been waiting for. What hits you over the next hour or so is a sonic boom, a flurry of brutal riffing, intense drumming and ‘epic’ keyboards.

Epic. That’s the word I would associate with the album on so many levels. One: The theme behind the music. As I mentioned above, there’s a very fantasy world sort of theme in the music, and although the riffs are straight out brutal, I can practically hear bloody swords and shields clash against each other, and the air echoing with the screams of the wounded. Even the front album artwork bears similarities to Isengard, laid to waste by the Ents. The word ‘epic’ undoubtedly fits into the entire scenario. Two: The keyboards. Choral highs and vast expanses of synth that come crashing down in your head, definitely ‘epic’. Three: The length of the songs and the musical segments and variations within the songs. Ok, it can probably be attributed to the keyboards again but the entire composition and the positioning of the riffs with respect to each other definitely make it worthy of the ‘epic’ tag. Four: The grand scale of production of the album, the artwork, marketing, the box-set all makes up for another ‘epic’ moment.

Some tracks on the album really stand out. Lord Of Pestilence, for one. There’s a very ‘Opeth’ feel to the song, with some clean bits and some destructive parts spread over almost 9 minutes. ‘Dismembering The Fallen’ is probably the most brutal track on the album. Splendid basslines and good guitar and keyboard harmonies, but its all nothing compared to the magnus-opus, the final track on the album ‘Omega.’ Chuggy riffs, a killer bass-tapping bit, awesome guitar solos and loads of progressive elements, all rolled into a 14 minute long package. When you listen to this song, you’ll realize how fitting the word ‘epic’ is. The album production is fantastic, the guitars sound rich and crunchy but I must say that I would’ve enjoyed the albums more had the keyboards been less prominent and vocals been a little less processed and more ‘raw’. The over-slick sound doesn’t entirely capture the brutality that the band exudes when they play live; although good production can’t really be a flaw, can it? I also felt that the clean vocals seemed weak at parts, although none of this can be taking as a reason to not pick up the album. It’s a master class, probably one of the best Indian albums I have and will listen to for a long time. A thoroughly professional release from one of India’s finest metal bands. Honestly, I didn’t expect anything less.