Demonik are a band who I have covered previously for this site. The Spanish Thrashers released their 3rd studio album “Rise From Chaos” in 2018 and whilst there were some good musical elements on it, the album was just another generic thrasher which had some strange ideas going on, most notably overly long songs and some very extended musical sections in tracks, it was loaded with plenty of headbanging riffs and thrash power. The band decided to re-record their first 2 releases with their current line up to basically bring them forwards into a new decade and give the fans a chance to hear the music in its current form instead of its original form given how the newer line up seems more solid and competent one would assume.
Both “Demon” and “Ashes Of The Earth” are much like the album which followed them, loaded with plenty of riffs and powerful musical offerings which are loaded with thrash and groove metal. The fact the vocals have been recorded in English on both these re-recorded re-releases suggests that the originals might have been in the band’s native tongue but as I have not heard the original releases I cannot fully confirm this. What I can confirm is that usually when a band re-records an album with its current line up, it mostly remains true to the original, usually the only differences being subtle flair moments or a re-working of some sections of tracks as opposed to a whole re-creation or re-imagining of them. Taking this approach, both these re-releases can be compared with the band’s third release easier and you can hear the stylistic approach from the band being carried over to these previous releases.
Both albums appear to have a more defined sound and direction to them musically, they have plenty of riffs and groove, something you expect to find on a thrash album and they don’t disappoint. The smooth chord changes in rhythm sections, swift and precise melodic moments and powerful lead guitar wail and shred, it certainly ticks all the boxes for thrash musically. Vocally, again, it seems to suffer. You can hear the vocals, but they aren’t strong enough to give a commanding presence, so you often find yourself simply nodding along to the music and focusing on the tight rhythmic work of the drums or the guitar work.
“Demon”, the shorter of the two releases is the band’s first album which was originally released in 2010 and it is certainly the rawer of the two releases. Whilst it might retain its original rawness, there is a more refined edge to the sound on offer but whilst it might have had a musical upgrade in terms of the re-recording, the vocals seem to be extremely weak, a concern I did highlight when covering “Rise From Chaos”. “Ashes Of The Earth”, the band’s second full length release also seems more refined in its musical aspect, but once again, it seems to be weaker vocally. Whether this is due to the switch from Spanish to English for the lyrics or simply just the vocal styling, on all three releases I have heard from Demonik, the vocals seem to be one of the major flaws on the releases. The best way to describe it would be a watered down Testament; It has the music there, but the vocals are just flat and lifeless.
Whilst the press release gushes and waxes lyrical about how the re-release of “Demon” is what the band envisioned 10 years ago whilst recording it, and how the re-release of “Ashes Of The Earth” is what the current Demonik sounds like with the sharper sound they possess, the main problem is that whilst the band certainly nail the musical aspects, the vocals are once again the main let down. Both re-releases have a more certain musical flow and direction as opposed to “Rise From Chaos”, they actually seem to go somewhere and don’t go off on tangents with ridiculously extended length tracks which don’t maintain the listener’s attention. “Ashes Of The Earth” is certainly the stronger of the two releases and the one I found myself leaning more towards when listening to both releases.
In all, once again Demonik seem to just sit in the middle of a mediocre thrash sound. Musically they have the chops, they know how to write some great thrash riffs and some wild leads, but ultimately, sounding great means little if the vocal element is lagging behind in quality and presence. Maybe the band can get something more solid on their next release; something to help the vocals actually stand out and take a more active role in the delivery of the tracks, but until then, Demonik will simply remain to be background noise thrash, something you can nod along to but not really feel compelled to get invested further in.
(Demon: 5/10, Ashes Of The Earth: 6/10, Fraggle.)