Of the seven acts I found called Stillborn this version is from Poland and is one of the most prolific in terms of quantities of releases as they’ve seen fit to re-release their first two demos released in 1999 and 2001 respectively titled ‘Mirrormaze’ and ‘Die In Torment 666’. With every label it seems vying to reissue artist back catalogues the validity of certain reissues is undoubtedly questionable and cynically is a straight cash in whether the releases have been reissued previously or not, given that labels can get licensing agreements to do so. With that in mind it is good to have a reissue that’s worth paying for, much in the same way as Grave had their demos released on cassette, though this is being released on CD only from what I can glean in my investigations.
The first half of the release is the “Mirrormaze” demo which has two extra tracks tagged on the end and has alternating songs spliced together with varying length interludes as the release kicks off with “Crave For Killing”. From the moment the song starts the listener is thrust into a quagmire of oppressive blackened ferocity, with a great drum sound that cushions the bleak riffs against a cascading double kick blasting salvo. I admit that I prefer sound that has this style of suffocating atmosphere as the riffs are thrown like ice shards piercing the rhythm section assault as the first interlude is one of noise that links into “Die In Torment”. These quieter pieces serve to make the full songs outright obliterating as that double kick blasting is dominant, punctuated by riffing and cymbal smashing breaks. The title track tempers the speed initially providing a base for the song to catapult into sonic Armageddon and it is this war like wrath that I particularly enjoyed on this first demo. The bands namesake tune “Stillborn” is utterly pulverising boasting a plethora of riffing incursions saturated with carpet bombing drums. The two songs tagged on the end are titled “Molestation” and “Iconoclast (Mirrormaze era version)”, the latter of which appears on the second demo as both songs fit cohesively into the sound and overall aural devastation.
“Die In Torment 666” has a marked difference in sound preferring a much higher end approach but no less incendiary as “Keep Dying” brutalises the listener with a tsunami of blast beats as the riffing has a late 80s and early 90s death metal style. Whilst I prefer the sound of the other demo each of the tracks is relentless with only sporadic variations in velocity as “Blasphemous Perversion” follows. Using a sample sets the scene for the carnage to follow as the riff has a slight Krisiun feel especially with the mechanised drumming bombardment. Each song is insanely fast as both “Whore” and “Blood, Chains & Whips” exemplify, and as I stated earlier the songs have brief respites, barely catching a breath before wave after wave of nihilistic terror unfolds. “Iconoclast” sounds markedly different on the second demo and if I’m honest I prefer the other version, but the tune is still venomous with a blurring drum display and demonized vocal performance that manifests as ghoulish shrieks, thunderous bellows and disembowelling growls.
There is something innately terrorising about these two demos, the songs are corrosively played at demented speed but retaining a clarity and vehemence as each track reeks of sonic malevolence with a malignity that is palpable.
(8.5/10 Martin Harris)