posted on 3/2007 By:
If a band genuinely expects to catch my attention with a demo, it needs to exhibit two very key elements. The first, and probably most important, is potential. If the music exhibits a capacity to truly develop into something fruitful in the future, I’m generally willing to sacrifice things such as production and packaging. Second, I’d like to hear some semblance of originality. I understand in most cases demos represent a band’s rudimentary, inaugural voyage, so it’s likely they’ll openly splay their influences on their sleeve, but individuality is an attribute that will greatly serve a band that expects to separate themselves from the multitude of other troupes vying for listeners’ money and attention.
Soilblack, the maiden voyage from Italy’s Damned Creation does fairly well in regards to the first point mentioned above, but sadly misses the mark in terms of originality. The five songs displayed travel a very well worn, symphonic black metal path akin to early Emperor, Ancient and Dimmu Borgir, but they lack the sort of vitality and inventiveness needed to land this outfit anywhere but directly in the midst of the scads of other bands bidding for recognition in this already gorged sub-genre of black metal.
Each tune follows a similar formula of fairly epic black metal with chunky riffs, atmospheric keys, precise (to the point of sounding machine generated) drumming, and sporadic, busy-bee tremolo riffing, with occasional transitions into quieter moments as well. The vocals are typical of the genre, and spend an equal allotment of time switching between baleful rasps and deeper bellows, and thankfully never wander into unskilled, clean warbling. Soilblack strikes most true when the pace is frenzied, allowing the lead guitar to shroud its surroundings within the sheer, buzzing bliss of an angry swarm of bees, but too much of the demo ends up drifting into arid sections that spotlight humdrum drumming and fairly lifeless rhythm guitar.
Damned Creation does, however, convey a good amount of pluck in terms of a desire to play this style of black metal with conviction, and therein lies their potential. They’re competent musicians with a solid understanding of the roots of the genre, but they really need to figure out a way to add more snap to the well-traveled formula if they hope to stand out from the rest of the herd. Perhaps on a future release.
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