Throughout its history, death metal has been warped and molded into any number of permutations, with several different dials that bands can twist to arrive at their desired destination. Need more artsy avant-gardery? Turn up the experimental Gorguts factor. More gore? Make sure that guitar tone is as slimy as the Cannibal Corpse-influenced lyrics. Want to make sure the very idea of organized religion brings you to tears of despair? The Ross Dolan determination dial is right there.
But perhaps no scale is as commonly adjusted as the degree of technicality. Even in the early days it was easy to tell Obituary apart from say, Atheist or Suffocation. Some liked it busy, and music that would eventually be called tech/death was spewed amid all those Hobbs riffs. However, that descriptor doesn’t quite feel right for some bands, no matter how spry their instrumental chops. In the same way that there is often death metal that is melodic but doesn’t quite fit the normal “melodeath” stereotypes, the same can be said of death metal that is technical but doesn’t sound exactly like Onset of Putrefaction.
Label: Willowtip Records.
Like a lot of Incredibly Busy Death Metal, Daemusinem is way more focused on loading every possible second with dense riffery than they are writing nuanced songs. In situations like this, that’s a-okay; very few folks are looking for compositional brilliance with song titles like “Natural Born Satanist.” Instead, they’re looking for that song to open the album with an absolute barrage of blasts and twitchy riffing, as if early Nile had a baby with a much more ignorant version of early Nile. That is absolutely 100 percent without a doubt a glowing compliment.
Lightning-fast, buzzing riffs double on themselves, weaving over the drums at times, doubling their staccato jabs at others (this shit is punchy). Arrogant harmonic squeals offer the album’s only real moments of brashness, as the consistent, throaty growls of vocalist D.O.C. just don’t have time to be anything but constantly on the offensive. The whole thing is so overloaded with stuff that it’s pretty easy to miss when one song transitions to another. Hell, it only slows down when it decides to get a little greasy from time to time, which is very, very appreciated.
Still, this album isn’t all about having dinner at the Death Metal Golden Corral; there is some smarts at play here, which you’d expect from such seasoned vets (three fourths of the members are also in Putridity). There’s a moment in “Monolithic Confession” when they use an ultra brutal landing as a kind of hook after a particularly bee-swarm-sounding passage, the kind of detail that will startle you in its smarts, purely because it intends to sound Maximum Ignant. “The Denial of Dethronement” is the album’s smartest song, progressing and piling on layers in a way that almost… understated? Nah, no way. Not this album. And as if the band hears your accusations, the song ends with a corny sample from Bram Stoker’s Dracula before getting pretty dumb again with “Despaired Path of Suffering” (and the rest of the album). Again, that is absolutely 100 percent without a doubt a glowing compliment.
Thy Ungodly Defiance fits the great tradition of death metal that is as straightforward in philosophy as it is bonkers in execution. Daemusinem has crammed about a billion riffs and trillion snare hits within a very brief, ultra efficient 31 minutes. Punchy, brutal, buzzy, and Incredibly Busy Death Metal. You get the idea.
If not, here are some potential alternate titles:
- Proto-Heisenberg Really Doesn’t Want You to Slow Down, Mulder
- There is a Bomb on the Bus
- I Sent Sixteen of My Own Men to the Latrines That Night
- Never Stop Dancing, Doomsday Device Bender