Demo Tribunal: August 2013

Saturday, 31st August 2013 by Dead Rhetoric

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Our re-branded demo column features ten fresh bands up for discussion, each with varying degrees of quality. Actually, there wasn’t a dud in the bunch this month, meaning that perhaps unsigned bands are starting to figure things out, or DR is starting to soften with age and increasing male-pattern baldness. It’s a toss-up. Up for debate this month: Arrogant Destrucktor, Beastwood, Cadaveric Spasm, Joyless Jokers, Mollusk, The Beyond, Throne of Heresy, Torture Ascendancy, Vermithrax, and Wasted Fortune.

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Arrogant Destruktor – Demo
Two big things are going for England’s Arrogant Destruktor: First, they hail from Birmingham, which we all know is the birthplace of metal. (If you are unaware of that factoid, you probably like to twirk.) Second, Anaal Nathrakh live drummer Steve Powell smacks the skins on the band’s impressive three-song debut demo. Playing a vintage cross of early black metal (think Bathory before they went Viking), along with the epic sprawl of mid-90’s era Satyricon, the band’s songs are largely enthralling, most notably “Gold is the Flesh of the Sun God,” a jam that sparkles with urgent dissonance and warped, melodic riffing. It’s a sterling effort from a band that given ample opportunity to record a full-length, might make some noise in the U.K. extreme underground. Arrogant Destuktor on Facebook

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Beastwood – Alabama Space Witch
Quick: Count the number of successful metal bands from Wyoming. DR can’t do it either, even when we’re hopped-up on caffeine and granola bars. Such facts don’t deter Beastwood, who are an unassuming, but potent bunch of roughnecks from Casper, a city best known for its cowboy culture and oil refineries. On their sophomore effort Alabama Space Witch, the band purvey the sort of hummable and engaging Southern-fried rock sludge that a select few can pull off without running to the hills of blandness. And with the thunderous “Galactic Bison” and groovy-beyond-belief “Stompin Boots” causing a ruckus, DR doesn’t see why these fine gents couldn’t end up on a reputable indie like 20 Buck Spin or Southern Lord.  Beastwood on Bandcamp

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The Beyond – Decaying Death
Three bands also lay claim to The Beyond moniker, none of which are really worth going to town about, though. Italy’s The Beyond are a two-year old death metal outfit who initially started as a cover band, running through the classics from Morbid Angel, Napalm Death, and Obituary. Such a background has given the five-piece some fine-tuning, as the four cuts that comprise of their Decaying Death debut EP have the necessary old-school vitriol and intensity to at least get some nods from the casual death metal observer. Extra bonus points for the comic book-like cover art, too. www.facebook.com/thebeyonddeathmetal

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Cadaveric Spasm – Mambo Number Grind
Best title of this month’s column? Mambo Number Grind, of course. In addition to having a knack for funny album titles, Philadelphia’s Cadaveric Spasm get their grind on with equal doses of humor and rawness, proving that per the usual, there is no middle ground with grind – you’re either a political elitist or total goofball. Being that Cadaveric Spasm fall into the latter, it’s with a grain of salt “Human Pinata” and “Kevorkian Love Chair” should be taken, yet the tunes are far from paint-by-numbers. Score one for goofy grind! Cadaveric Spasm on Bandcamp

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Joyless Jokers – Taste of Victory
Far and away the most ill-fitting band name of the month, Italy’s oddly-named Joyless Jokers are a thrash/death metal combo that has been in existence since 2006. Their Taste of Victory effort (released last year), culls from the likes of Dew-Scented and Legion of the Damned, meaning, they’re one of those hybrid bands that don’t do one thing particularly well. The album sounds fantastic, though, top-notch production all around, and the syncopated rhythms of “Murder in Me” are catchy, while the melodic taste of “Point of No Return” emerges as the album’s standout cut. Once the band figures out their name won’t fly in North American territories, they might have a future ahead of then.  Joyless Jokers on Facebook