After releasing four solid demos, DEMILICH solidified their technical death metal approach by evolving from the old school death metal similar to Bolt Thrower to the full-fledged progressive death metal band they would become on their first and only full-length album NESPITHE. The band is basically the brainchild of vocalist and guitarist Antti Boman who formed the band in Kuopio, Finland in1990. The band name DEMILICH comes from the Dungeons & Dragons game. A lich in the game is a spell caster seeking to defy death through magical means and a DEMILICH is a lich that exists long enough to reach a point in its evolution where it turns away from the physical realm and accesses other planes of existence. The title NESPITHE shows Antti Boman’s love of world play as it is simply an anagram of “The Spine.” This wordplay also finds its way into some of the tracks like “Erecshyrinol” which once the letters are switched around becomes “No Lyrics Here.”
One of the most striking and immediate differences with DEMILICH in contrast to every other metal band out there is the immediate effect of the vocals. Antti Boman went somewhere few others in all of music go by employing extremely low gurgled vocals. This is called the vocal fry register and is the lowest of all vocalizations. Despite the evil sounding nature of this technique, it is used rarely in different genres ranging from gospel to country music but has found a more suitable home in its extreme forms in various forms of metal music with DEMILICH taking this to the utmost extreme where Antti sounds like he’s gurgling his own blood or vomit or something equally disgusting! However once you’ve inured to the vocals which are the most immediate difference from death metal contemporaries, it is really the technical wizardry of the instruments and song structures that stand out. The instrumental prowess of Mikko Virnes’ drumming is the backbone or the spine or NESPITHE of the entire musical flow. His bizarre rhythms and jazz-tinged lightning fast drum rolls provide the perfect canvass for the guitar riffs and bass lines to build some highly technical death metal that can sound alienating upon first listen but i have found it to be addicting. The song structures provide plenty of surprises and unpredictability while staying firmly in the death metal camp complete with heavy riffing, blastbeats, Morbid Angel type soloing and, of course, macabre and deranged subject matter!
NESPITHE is simply a wild and aggressive romp through the darkest and most forboding sonicscapes one can think of. DEMILICH successfully takes you into another world on NESPITHE that matches the intensity of the hellacious album cover (no matter which one you may encounter). The alienating vocals mixed with the aggressive dissonant and inapposite instrumentation is a successful recipe that rewards the progressive rock aficionado while satisfying the most extreme head banger in the metal music universe. This is a rare combination for the individuals who love complexity and have a craving for challenging music that requires repeated listens to decipher. NESPITHE is one of those rare technically constructed extreme metal albums that ranks high on my list of classic masterpieces that employs progressive techniques, high speed aggression and atmospheric escapism. I personally have never had a problem with the gurgled vocals. One of the things that puzzles me is how complacent the metal community can be as a whole, preferring to worship consistency and musical complacency rather than rewarding true artistic deviations from the norm. Perhaps this was too much too fast for some but for me NESPITHE sits high on my list as one of the most innovative extreme metal albums of the ages. As with the previous demos you can find NESPITHE on the digitally remastered compilation “20th Adversary Of Emptiness” which includes every single thing the band ever recorded.