posted on 8/2009 By:
If you’re a fan of bands who mix seriously aggressive forms of thrash and black metal (I’m sure someone will come up with an awful nickname for it sooner or later, other than just “blackthrash” ), then you’ve probably already treated your ears to any ripping combination of Absu, Destroyer 666, Blood Tsunami, or Razor Of Occam this year. I’ve heard other bands that mix the two styles in much less successful ways, usually by either blending the sometimes ridiculous pomposity of symphonic black metal with the simplest, most limp-wristed thrash “riffs” you can imagine, or worse, ending up sounding like something the folks in Cryptic Slaughter would take one listen to and bitch that the production was too thin, and the musicianship was too loose. Luckily, neither case applies here. So even though Belgium’s Demonizer may not currently be an actively functioning band, their attention to detail is/was admirable, and Triumphator is an entertaining if not somewhat average addition to the stockpile of good albums released this year, and it’s worth checking out.
Speed is the most attractive element here, especially with the pacing of many of the riffs themselves. They’re the type of riffs that often fall directly into that sweet spot right between the smooth tremolo hum, and the choppy chug, where even the most fundamental chord changes sound unbalanced and frantic. When things do speed up, or slow down, you can really hear the vintage thrash come out with the catchiness of the rhythms, and we’re also treated to a generous dose of melodic, chaotic guitar solos (“Alcoholic”, “The Wolf Inside”) that sound right at home among those tremendously energetic riffs. Demonizer truly bowed to both styles admirably by incorporating all the melody, cohesiveness, and focus of the more unconventional thrash bands of the early/mid-80’s (Holy Terror, Sacrifice, Voivod), along with the shredding speed of Marduk/Immortal-styled black metal, with a nod towards Emperor here and there. There’s really not a whole lot of bad things to say, but unless you’re already into this sort of metal, nothing here will convert you to the cause.
If any real criticism can be made, it’s that the shorter 3-4 minute assaults make the most of their time, and it also takes a really, really long time before you can tell the tracks apart. All of the songs just sort of run into each other like the band was in a hurry to get through one tune in order to get on to the next, one song after another. After a while it all becomes a blur of great melodic riffs and hyperactive drums, with one tune slamming into the next, or just picking up right where the previous track left off. When they start tweaking the tempo, things get much more interesting, most notably when they lock into a militant, marching beat that demands fists to be thrown into the air in a way that perfectly suits any awesome 150-person sweaty club show you can find on a Friday night. A little more individuality would have been nice, but at least their performances are well-executed.
Triumphator is good, and at times it briefly touches greatness (“The Wolf Inside“ is superb), but I can already tell Demonizer could have gone a lot further with their sound, and still can if they decide to give it another try. The production isn’t exactly spectacular, but nothing gets buried or muddled, although the solos could have been raised in the mix just a little bit. But all in all, Triumphator is a cool little slab of hyperactive thrashy black metal, and I’ll be keeping an ear out to see if anything new develops as far as future plans go, because this definitely showed some promise.
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