Black Star Gnosis
Dark Descent Records
One of the oldest American black metal bands returns after an eight year hiatus with a blackened assault of new material. If you love music that challenges your ears and provides you with a hellish soundtrack to inspire going on a killing spree, then Demoncy is the band for you. Now I jest about the part of going out on a killing spree; but I do seriously feel the hypnotic and often hellish tones could ignite some hatred in oneself.
At least for me, depending on my mood; I can assuage the deepest recess of dark feelings to love some black Metal. This is a genre that I don't dabble a whole lot in, however; there are a few bands that demand my attention from time to time. Demoncy is one of those bands that brings soul eating tones and malevolent compositions out from the stinkiest region of hell and right into your ear drums. Just don't get too carried away and start puncturing your drums.
With all kidding aside, this is the seventh studio recording entitled Black Star Gnosis (due out December 1st on Dark Descent Records). Certainly this is a record title that might raise a few eyebrows, given that the word 'Gnosis' is the common Greek noun for knowledge. I had to look that up and as soon as I saw the title, I wondered what this fiendish pair (Ixithra and VJS) were up to on this new diabolical outing.
It didn't take long to figure that out. The opening number "Across the Setian Planes" is an instrumental dirge of ghastly sounds and beastly cries. I swear this could easily be a tribute to Clive Barker's Hellraiser. Me thinks Mr. Barker would enjoy the shit out of this selection. Then we break into the first crusty track of droning madness called "Ipsissimus of Shadows". Ixithra's vocals are raspy and dripping with menace, while the sonic-constant charge of the guitars play along in tandem.
The title track is next up and it starts with the guitars that churn out that blackened death drone and accompanied by a crescendo chaser of harsh vocals. You can't get any better than this, but "Cosmic Curse Invocation" follows and it delivers beyond all expectations. The vocals are chanted out in a way that you dread the evil being summoned from afar. The guitars are meaty as fuck and it provides that extra layer of menace for my tastes and more.
At this stage we are only halfway through, and so far this is quite the experience. However, the fifth track entitled "Syzygy of Unholy Trinity" starts out ominously with a doomy cascade of bells and gurgle-like sounds throughout four and a half minutes of runtime. Call it another instrumental if you like, but moreover this is just an interlude to whet your whistle for what's yet to come. The droning malignancy of "De Mysterium Noctis", complete with Ixithra's heaving vocals perked up my ears. Let me tell you, this isn't easy listening music and the track is proof of that.
Probably the most potent track rears up next like a bestial invader rising from the vestiges of early Swedish death metal. It's a track entitled "Performing the Ceremonies of Tragedy" and the main thrust of the song is dictated by the fiercest guitar tone ever. The vibe is downright evil incarnate, but very short and straight to the point. The eighth track follows, drawing upon the similar title in song number four. This time it's known as "Cosmic Curse Expulsion", as it spits out the continual drone of blackened death sounds. The one thing I notice is how the vocals morph into an almost unintelligible language of demon speak. At least that's how I interpreted the approach.
We end things off with "Occultation of Typhon" which becomes a soundtrack-like wave of atmospheric sounds and doom-laden grunts and groans. It's hard to describe outright, but there's a certain feeling of finality to the track, almost as if the unseen evil presence in the Evil Dead movies is skittering away and back into the void from where it came. It's a really interesting way to end the album and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
Black Star Gnosis is the kind of release that plays out perfectly for Halloween. I hear the nods to films like Hellraiser and Evil Dead and the sprinkle of inspirations from bands like Entombed, Triptykon and Mayhem help to bludgeon your listening experience. Demoncy are known as a black metal outfit, but the template of their sound is broad and bordering on sound track themes, early death metal and avant-garde sounds. I'm sure I can go on and on gushing over them like some silly school girl crush, but I think you get the picture.
As band they challenge this reviewer's ears and I am giving them a strong recommendation for those who love this type of hellish soundscape. It certainly appeals to horror and metal fans and with that being said I'm giving them a solid 9 out of 10 skulls.
Strongest tracks: Across the Setian Planes, Performing the Ceremonies of Tragedy and Occultation of Typhon.
Kenneth Gallant, HMS