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Music Review

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Demon Solar Totem


Artist: The Deathtrip
Label: Svart Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 15 November 2019

Svart Records releases Deathtrip’s Demon Solar Totem, the follow-up to their debut album, 2014’s Deep Drone Master. Deathtrip is a Black Metal band consisting of Kvohst on vocals (and lyrics), Host on guitar, Storm on drums, and Thomas Eriksen on bass. They have a theme of primeval possession and open portals to other dimensions, old-English occultism, sacred sound formulae, otherworld eeriness and spectral realms.

The title track has a nice paced riff intro, which is maintained at a moderate speed, with drums thrashing at twice the rate. They get together with the introduction of screamed vocals which calm after a while, so that the backing is infinitely more manic. Ironically, when the music is more controlled the vocals are throaty; so, they are in contrast… and it sort of works. I like the chanted pieces, which they really should have incorporated more freely. The vocals are a little clearer on 'Angel Fossils', so you ascertain more of the story behind the urgency. The band manages to maintain a frantic feeling that we are on the edge of armageddon, or the unearthing of something cataclysmic. They are doom-laden without being Doom Metal.

'Enter Spectral Realms' begins well (if you can describe the subject matter as ‘well’), but soon descends into a similar formula as the first track. Having said that, the echoed soundscapes do conjure pictures of untamed lands and undiscovered cultures. 'Surrender to a Higher Power' contains a central riff that drags you along for the ride. It is at this point that the album begins to find its feet. 'Vintage Telepathy' has a more moderate and brooding atmosphere, which works well with the sporadically materialising monastic chants. 'Abraxas Mirrors', after a tentative start, suddenly unleashes into a heavy allegro, accompanied by an unusual but melodic hook. This feels like a centrepiece. Nice.

We wrap-up with 'Awaiting a New Maker'. The riff sounds like the intro to 'Iron Man', by Black Sabbath (perhaps the greatest Black Metal band, before the term was even invented by Venom). Anyway, this track is more about creating an atmosphere – something this band excels at. A new closer for their live set, maybe.

I can appreciate what is being attempted with this release. The atmosphere and visions of other worlds inspired by the music is countered by the less than vibrant sound, wherein the vocals are too low in the mix, and the progress is somewhat directionless. I believe the mysticism should be brought more to the fore, because this is the album’s strength – and there isn’t nearly enough of it.


Ty Power

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