Veteran Spanish thrashers Demonik return with their third studio album to celebrate 11 years as a musical force in the Iberian Peninsula. With two full lengths and a double live album behind them, along with a new line-up, the band are hopeful of making progress on their goals for the next few years; touring across Europe. Having received praise and recognition for this latest release, being rewarded by joining up with Vomitory on their reunion tour, let’s see if anything else can rise from the chaos in Spain.
The first thing of note regarding Demonik is their sound. A generalised description of the style would simply be ‘thrash’, but like always, there is far more to it than a simple blanket term. In their musical approach on “Rise From Chaos”, there are elements of bay area thrash, metalcore, melodic death metal and Euro-leaning Power Metal. In all, it’s a fairly formidable musical approach which has plenty of substance to it and a huge presence. A tight rhythm section holds the entire musical performance together and given how the drums on the album were performed by Dani Pérez, a titan in Spanish music, it comes as no surprise. The guitars are your typical heavy thrash sound; a huge low and high presence with a noticeable dip in the mid-ranges, giving that weight to the rhythm and cutting edge to the leads, something which comes across wonderfully when the melodic lines and harmonies surface in the tracks. In all, it is musically sound, but just because the blueprint is spot on, it doesn’t necessarily dictate that the structure will hold up.
Vocally, this album is weak. Whilst the growls and shouts have a good presence to them, the cleaner vocal sections are rather lacking. Coming across as slightly out of key in places, they don’t always fit well with the music behind them, this is a trait which is noticeable across the entire release, the music has momentum whilst the vocals seem to be hanging on for life. The length is also a factor against it. Back in the 80’s, it wasn’t unusual to see 6-9 minute long tracks on thrash albums, but this release, 13 tracks, one of which is over 25 minutes in length does raise a few eyebrows and red flags. In all, it is certainly ambitious, but just talking about the album doesn’t quite explain it.
The opening track “Burning My Soul” is a predictable, modern thrash track. It has the rhythmic punch, the heavy sound and aggression in the right balance, plenty of attitude and some good hooks, but it does little to catch the imagination. Further into the release, “Insomnia”, the track which premiered as the first single rectifies this oversight. With more atmospheric emphasis, good use of clean passages and solid sections of groove metal, it showcases the band’s rhythmic prowess better, but at the same time, it doesn’t feel quite settled. A feel which permeates the release; there is no sustainable momentum from track to track or within most of the tracks. The epic length “Voices From Hell” is almost like three separate tracks squashed together and it would work better if the section covered from 12:05 to 21:00 was removed entirely and put as its own musical entity. The track has some cracking riffs and lead guitar melodies but the way it drags out in places and is a severe departure from the rest of the album’s musical style is slightly jarring. Add into the fact it appears in the middle of the release too just makes me wonder why this track was placed here; a pivotal point which many see as a deciding factor on whether they continue to pay attention to the release or not.
Luckily for the band, there are some gems on this release. The 14 minute long track “To Live” is a powerhouse and the undeniable stand out track of the album. Packed with excellent displays of thrash riffling, astounding drumming and a solid extended instrumental section in the middle which is loaded with plenty of lead guitar theatrics ranging from harmonies to impressive trade-offs and full on shredding, it shows the band’s raw ability and what they were trying for with this release. That isn’t to say that “Rise From Chaos” overall is a bad release, it’s just a musical manifestation of entropy.
“Rise From Chaos” is in essence, what its name is. A chaotic mess where some moments and one fantastic track really do rise out from it. There are some great musical ideas on this release, the only problem seems to be that they couldn’t quite get them all to gel together the way they envisioned it in the composition stages for this album. Still, there’s plenty of music there to bang your head to, after all, it’s loaded with riffs!