1. Torture Garden 2. Oath of Chaos 3. Revelation 4. Termination of Souls 5. Unjust 6. Ravaged 7. Evil Deeds 8. Grieve No Longer 9. Abandoned 10. Remains of Yesterday 11. Deadly Embrace 12. Ecstasy and Rapture 13. Never Ending Pain
For a band with a decade’s experience under their belt and Poland’s tradition of superlative death metal at their backs, Demise is remarkably vapid. Limping through their third full length, ‘Torture Garden’, Demise’s only accomplishment is demonstrating that even the strongest of international metal scenes can be flawed, and harbor a weak link in its chain.
Counting ‘Torture Garden’ as Polish death at all does a disservice to the genre—although distorted guitars, blastbeats, and growled vocals are found throughout this album, Demise are actually rather coy at heart, and practically easy listening at times (relatively speaking, of course). If the band did not put forth the image and surface appeal of their countrymen’s carefully maintained standard, I would not be judging them by those standards. However, ‘Torture Garden’ opens with a touch of ominous ambience, a heavy, churning riff, and a mechanical, double-time on drums. Indeed, that first track could be the band’s most accomplished and coherent on the album.
In fact, a number of these songs begin with similar bravura, but nearly all of them lack tenacity-- after a minute or two of quasi-technical riffing and aggressive verses, the façade begins to decompose. It is not the experimental clean vocals (which are admittedly quite poor), nor is it the few synth passages (elementary though they may be) that cast ‘Torture Garden’ into doubt. It is the simple fact that despite their posturing and presentation, Demise do not cut it as a death metal band, lacking the gumption and spark to succeed on any serious level.
Metal of today is an unforgiving institution—the margin for error and mediocrity is narrowing every year. Demise are not amateurs, though, and their execution is passable; the problem with Demise is their composition. ‘Torture Garden’, all 13 tracks of it and 60 minutes (too long by half), never once inspired, entertained, or surprised me.
Death Metal may not be a genre just for the outcasts and mentally unbalanced, as it once was considered to be, but if a band with the title isn’t going to pound some teeth in with its fury, it had better aim to impress with clever and passionate character. And although Demise can certainly paint by the numbers to give them a rough outline of what they should sound like, the final product is agonizingly sub-par.
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