Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Demonic - The Empire of Agony
Necropolis Records, 1997
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Everlasting Shadow
2. A Dark Journey towards Desolation
3. His Eyes Burn Hate
4. Evoke the Demon Lord
5. Diabolic Blood War
6. Wandering through a Cold Mist
7. Spell of the Witchdemon
8. Lead Us Into Darkness
9. Torment their Christian Souls with Infernal Powers

After waiting a couple years Demonic finally unleashes their debut full-length, featuring their new logo with added inverted crosses. Now the unfortunate thing for this band after this release is they didn't release anything else, then with the demise of Necropolis Records, I think it has sentenced these releases to be forgotten by the larger community over a decade later. This is not so surprising to me, Demonic's music is, likely, only special in a nostalgic sense of the late 90's Black Metal scene. I always thought Necropolis did the bands art justice and that is no different for "The Empire of Agony". This comes as a nice digipak version with a full booklet featuring lyrics and band pics.

Demonic basically delivered everything you could ever want out of a Black Metal album. But I think its a "want" restricted to the bare minimum of Black Metal, now that I revisit this release. It has some solid riffing, but a lot of it is quite general, when compared to the great scheme of the genre today. Demonic focuses mostly on a hateful atmosphere, but every so often things delve into this a dark and haunting feel as keyboards enhance their sound in songs like "A Dark Journey towards Desolation" and "Diabolic Blood War". In other respects, I feel their songs are a bit on the short side, many not going much beyond three minutes. I think this gives the experience more of a Death Metal feel, because some tracks are just over before you know it! So, there's no really getting lost in the atmosphere as the album progresses. In their defense, I don't think we really consciously thought about writing Black Metal song like that back then, we just wrote songs that sounded good to us. The majority of the material is well written though, so it really does make for a solid Black Metal release. Most of the tracks from "Lead Us Into Darkness" have been re-recorded for this album as well. The only one that doesn't appear is "Når Mørket Faller", so that's still worth hearing on some levels. Also, the drums aren't as ridiculously thunderous on "The Empire of Agony", which was sort of disappointing, but overall the production values are a little more balanced.

In many respects, I can understand why this has been lost to history, in others it makes me sad. This was a great time of Black Metal for me in high school. I think I was a Sophomore at this point and the 90's Black Metal scene was going very strong and releases were becoming more available in the U.S. Not to mention Necropolis Records was going strong and bringing bands around for tours quite often, so that made this era special, and with all that Demonic sits in there for me. I'm sure people will still garner some enjoyment from their style today, but I think many will consider this generic by today's standards... at least until you look at that date of release. Even then, it was still probably generic, but not as much as today!

Demonic - Lead Us Into Darkness
Necropolis Records, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. Spell of the Witchdemon
2. Unholy Gates of Limbo
3. His Eyes Burns Hate
4. Når Mørket Faller

Demonic is a Black Metal band out of Norway from the early 90's that has probably been lost to the annals of history. I missed out on getting their 1994 demo, but everything was re-pressed on this "Lead Us Into Darkness" EP with one extra track called "His Eyes Burns Hate".  So there is really no need for me to track down the original tape. The major reason this wound up in my collection is because it was released by Necropolis Records. This label was pretty well known for signing really good Black Metal acts in the 90's, so I usually purchased their releases when they came out.

This was recorded in the now legendary Grieghallen Studio by Pytten and it has that production quality similar to a lot of the Norwegian bands. The drums are absolutely thunderous, similar to what you'd hear on "De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas". The demo parts actually remind me a bit of if Enslaved played a style of Black Metal that didn't involve any Viking themes or Folk styled elements. There is a bit of synth being used throughout the album, and this makes seem a bit more like Enslaved's "Frost", but this is well before that album even came out! Demonic have more of a Gorgoroth feels to their atmosphere and approach though, since it falls in the realms of being more hateful sounding.

This is an excellent demo and I can certainly see why Necropolis would pick them up right after hearing it. Demonic may never be considered a giant of the scene, but I always thought they did a really great job with their music. Maybe not a monumental classic, but it's a classic to me in many ways.

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