Demoncy - _Empire of the Fallen Angel_
(Blood, Fire, Death, 2003)
by: Matthias Noll (8 out of 10)
The fact that _Empire of the Fallen Angel_ features some of the most drastic changes in style I've ever witnessed initially made it somewhat difficult to objectively review Demoncy's new album. Their previous release, _Joined in Darkness_, found them delivering a totally unique blend of old-school death metal (think Incantation meets Bolt Thrower) mixed with black metal vocals and a totally bleak, trance-inducing Burzum-esque approach. Its ritualistic nature and dense unholy atmosphere provided the ultimate soundtrack for some proper sacrificing or having the time of your life at the weekly black mass while wearing a goat mask. _EotFA_ is a total and unexpected departure from the primitivism of _JiD_ and a trip into the realms of norse black metal. Comparisons could be made to early Immortal, although _EotFA_ is more melodic and less frantic, there are traces of the Swedish style, and with the focus on icy melodies _Within the Sylvan Realms of Frost_ is the closest but nevertheless stylistically remote comparison in Demoncy's own discography. With the goal of giving ever popular topics like winter landscapes, eternal frost and inhumanly cold ice storms a musical equivalent, Demoncy venture into dangerous areas and an already over-satisfied stylistic niche where the norsecore tag is threateningly close. However, after the initial shock has worn off, I have to testify that Demoncy have managed the difficult task of re-inventing themselves and setting foot into such territory with skill and class. Nothing on _EotFA_ deserves to get labelled as groundbreaking or innovative -- the whole musical concept, the ideas and ingredients are all familiar -- but Demoncy have simply managed to write an album full of good and memorable songs which balance brutality, melody and atmosphere exceptionally well and succeed in appropriately depicting the grandeur and intensity of their lyrical themes. The sound, although not perfect, remains good while pleasantly avoiding the sameness and slickness of European productions. Based on the strength of tracks like "The Obsidian Age of Ice", these Americans can easily hold their ground against the top tier of the European competition.

(article published 17/1/2004)

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