Demilich – 20th Adversary of Emptiness (Svart Records)Tuesday, 4th February 2014
When the classics of death metal are cited, you’ll hear the chants of Morbid Angel and Death, but maybe, just maybe you’ll hear of Demilich. One of the strangest death metal albums of the times, 1993’s Nespithe was truly one of a kind. Demilich never followed the album up, to the dismay of their fan base. 20th Adversary of Emptiness takes everything that Demilich ever recorded, and nicely places it into a friendly 3LP or 2 CD package, with new artwork (yes, the original is also included within) and a 44-page booklet with song commentary, lyrics, a Q&A session, and even some reviews/interviews. Basically, everything a fan of Demilich could ever want.
Due to the mostly cult status of Nespithe, it’s worth discussing, if only briefly. Nespithe is not an easy listen, even to this day. One thing that did initially draw people to the band was the super-low frog burping vocals. A one-trick pony perhaps, but as claimed in the booklet, no effects were used on these hellish gurgles. Underneath these somewhat off-putting vocals were a labyrinth of time-changes, complex riff structures, a filthy, gritty atmosphere, and a rather strange sense of humor. Or what must be humor, as excruciatingly long song titles like “The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh it Desired…)” must be taken with a grain of salt. The album holds up surprisingly well, quite possibly due to how eclectic it is, and this re-master serves it nicely. In comparison with some of today’s more “cave-dwelling” death metal, dare say it almost sounds like it could have been released currently.
20th Adversary of Emptiness does its job of exposing Demilich to a new generation of fans. It has everything a die hard fan could want, while simultaneously providing a new fan with a wealth of material from one of death metal’s most underrated gems.