Funny you know, but for someone writing for a site that specialises in underground music I don’t get to listen to many Demos. Sad ‘cos I love them. A few even end up being regular spins years later (Atlantean Kodex, Tengger Cavalry, The Devil’s Blood, Rotting Bull). It’s all about imagination and vision and that’s kind of special.

This here demo is by Derbyshire “True English Black Metal” horde Heathen Deity. The band itself has been on a long hiatus, having been formed in the 1990s but only really managing an EP before stuttering, so this recording from 2014/2015 by principle members Azrael and Dagon can be regarded as their rebirth, which really started at last year’s Blackwood Gathering and was enthusiastically reviewed in these very pages by Andy Pountney. There’s even a live track on here from that very set, which is a nice inclusion.

There’s five tracks on offer and we start with an intro ‘The Devil Himself’ which samples The Devil Rides Out before the slow, very doomed Candlemass style beginning of ‘The Flames Of The Gathering Darkness’ rises. It shifts tempo easily, turning hard and fast and has a fine guitar sound. The vocals, by Dagon I believe, are excellent; varied, harsh, convincing and expressive stuff and the riff just surges on with them. It’s a fine song all in all.

Next ‘As The Past Burns Away’ is a neat surprise, a little slice of acoustic, moody and excellent English folk. Staying well away from twee it’s atmospheric, melancholy and beautifully done and judged, and it promises a band who really get light and shade. We then get ‘Gut The Church’, a grim and driving piece, a little taste of Winterfylleth in the eerie melody maybe which again links nicely to the folky track, but woven within a hard orthodox sound so it doesn’t remotely turn them from the black metal path. Great song, really.

There follows a live version of the same song; not perfect recording obviously but good enough to hear a real solid, spirited sound and from the photos of that set they really seem to look the part too.

So a smidgeon of true doom, a taste of dark folk, a whole pyre of black metal; it’s a real good and well thought out sound here. All in all, this is a short but cracking showcase with great potential and I would seriously recommend looking them up. If I don’t catch them before hand, I’ll be looking forward to them at Warhorns this year certainly. Should go down a storm.

This is available on their bandcamp site and on CD from Azermedoth Records. See links below.

(7.5/10 Gizmo)