soulphernusBlackened death from Barnsley is what this 29 minute demo is. Now if I were to think of blackened death, I’d immediately conjure up visions of Behemoth. Judging by the first track “Come Force in the Name ov Daemons”, Soulphernus have a different take on this description. And a refreshing take it is. Hard-hitting, mobile, drum-driven with plenty of action from the guitar department, “Come Force in the Name of Daemons” is fast, exciting and bears testimony to the album’s artwork, on which we see slaves being marched up steps towards a grisly end. If we’re worried about genre, pure death metal is more the form, but more importantly I like the forward motion of this track, which I’m sure would be a crowd-pleaser in a live setting. “Religious Genocide”, which follows, has similarities but after hammering us into the ground at the beginning didn’t quite have the same impact. Again it’s hairy, obscure, significant for its sinister riffage and of course deathly. The problem for me was the spoken part, which diminished the power and force which were at the centre of this whirlwind.

A big strength of these tracks is that it’s easy as a listener to get involved. “Desolation ov the Weak” is again forward-driving, headbanging material. It’s traditional in style but the rampant rhythm drags you along by the balls. I wasn’t so keen on the “Hail Satan, Hail Beelzebub” chorus line, which weakened the otherwise powerful effect. So too the title track chugs along nastily, twists and turns instrumentally without really packing a killer punch. I’m not sure why on a five track release you’d have a bonus track, but “Monument ov Corpses” is here. For me, it shared the honours with “Come Forth in the Name ov Daemons”. The rhythm is punishing, and there’s a great break in the middle, which is followed by the explosiveness, which failed to endure on the previous three tracks.

I liked this collection, but for me this needed to stick to the harshness, ramp up the fire and cut away from the bombast of some of the vocals. Soulphernus know how to create a hard-hitting riff and overall the instrumental work, and in particular the drums, was as good and punishing as you’d want to find, and did justice to the dark subject matter of this work.

(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)