The Principal Extinction
posted on 4/2010 By:
There is a very distinct chance that Demontage do not remember the first steps of writing The Principal Extinction, their second studio effort. It likely started with Spatilomantis (vocals and guitar), Abominable Reverend (drums), and Perverted Priest (bass) hanging out, listening to old Rigor Mortis and Witchfinder General bootlegs, and swigging both beers and cheap bourbon. As the buzzes take hold, so too do their desires to pick up their own instruments, and eventually a maelstrom of sound and metal fury takes over and they remember no more.
The next morning greets the band with a sharp ringing in their ears and thick pain in their skulls, the well-earned rewards of the previous night’s insanity. Amidst the ruin, one of them discovers that their small tape recorder is out. Over strong cups of coffee, they hit the play button. Bewilderment leads to realization, remembrance, and eventually the joy of rock madness. Demontage didn’t just jam to their hearts’ delight; they laid the foundation of six slaughtering anthems. Without a second thought, they plug in, tune up, and dive back in, polishing the fruits of their blind-drunken labors.
Whatever the scenario, the results will appeal greatly to any fan for whom the term “old school” is dear. This is a beer-soaked and riff-infested tribute to the band’s heroes, representing a diverse cross section of metal’s great history. Demontage claim to play black heavy metal, but this fails to do justice to their seamless ventures into epic, progressive, power, death, and speed metal, coming across as the alcoholic love child of recent Darkthrone, Manilla Road, Possessed and even Arghoslent. Toss in a lo-fi mentality, a guitar tone of particular Stained Class and the vibe of a live recording, and the formula is complete.
The songs of The Principal Extinction move between horns-to-the-sky, leather-clad choruses and extended, multi-sectioned instrumental jams. Heaps of fun-to-play-and-fun-to-hear galloping riffs reveal that Demontage possesses the intangible free-spirited riffing ability that few bands dare to attack, and that even fewer conquer. The title track begins soft, shifts into a proto black/thrash groove, and kicks into galloping (there is a lot of galloping) speed metal terrain all before hitting the chorus for the first time, and long before the noodly instrumental section kicks in. Nearly ten minutes pass without the listener realizing it, partially due to the band’s knack for smooth transitions, but mostly due to the relentless headbangability of this and each of the songs. All of the material simultaneously hints at the band’s influences and shows off their surprising attention to detail and song flow. The triumphant “Satan of Self (The Warrior) & Seer of Truths (The Conjurer)” is perhaps the best example of this. Bombastic drum work and Manowar-by-way-of-The Chasm verses are given a payoff when a short lead guitar line introduces the final chorus. It is an instantly memorable moment: massively epic but as stein-lifting as a drinking song written by Cronos.
Okay, so the band isn’t always 100% tight, and maybe the drums and vocals do occasionally stretch outside their boundaries of ability. And yes, the mix is less than stellar, but in this case the unrefined aspects only add to Demontage’s rye-soaked appeal. This is the album many of us wish we could write when we’re drunk off our asses. And when I say drunk, I mean drunk with a capital Matt Pike. Much like metal’s favorite shirtless wonder, when these Canadians gear up, they transform into the axe-wielding, yak-slaying alter egos of their dreams. The Principal Extinction is an album that sounds natural because the band lives to play it, and as a result we can all love to hear it.
If it leads directly or indirectly to a severe hangover, it has done its job.
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