DEMILICH
Death Metal • Finland

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Demilich was a technical death metal band from Kuopio, Finland, that started in 1990 and disbanded after their full-length album, Nespithe, was released. Nespithe is available to download for free on their official website, as well as other demos.

In 2005, the band announced a brief reformation. They did a run of shows in the United States in May/June of 2006. The band broke up after a final gig at a festival in their native Kuopio, Finland on July 22nd, 2006. The band was set to release a compilation album sometime near the end of 2007, but it never came to fruition.
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DEMILICH Discography

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.. Album Cover 3.80 | 6 ratings
Nespithe
Death Metal 1993

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.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Regurgitation of Blood
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
The Four Instructive Tales of Decomposition
Death Metal 1991
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
...Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness...
Death Metal 1992
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
The Echo
Death Metal 1992

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DEMILICH Reviews

DEMILICH Nespithe

Album · 1993 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Conor Fynes
'Nespithe' - Demilich (10/10)

In a genre defined by its unfettered commitment to extremity, it’s rare for a death metal album to retain its stopping power in the generations following its release. Sure, Scream Bloody Gore and Altars of Madness still earn respect and admiration from contemporary ears (and rightfully so), but they’ve since been trumped in terms of their heaviness and commitment to perversity. A large part of what has made Demilich such an enduring gem is their lack of successor; no artist since has made death metal that sounds quite like them. Even with the twentieth anniversary of its release having occurred earlier this year, Nespithe remains as twisted, puzzling, and frightening as ever. Newcomers may find themselves put off by the unconventional guitarwork and (ahem) distinctive vocals, but there are few metal albums I’ve heard that leave such a lasting impression. Nespithe is death metal for the thinking man, and my only disappointment with the album is that Demilich never chose to make another one.

While most certainly mired within the confines of what we would label as death metal, Demilich took the familiar ingredients of the genre and forged something unmistakably unique with them. Death metal’s trademark aggression is filtered through a labyrinthine network of time signatures and the sort of dissonant harmonies you may expect to mind in modernist classical music. The rhythms ebb and flow with fluidity like a river current, much unlike the straightforward rampage you would expect to hear from a death metal album over twenty years old. Throughout the album, Demilich pays a consistent attention to detail in the shape of the riffs and flow of the composition. Whereas it would be expected even from a left-field band like this one to loosen the reins for a while and offer a taste of simplicity, Demilich doesn’t compromise their sophistication for a second. Even the slower parts of the song structures are complex and rich with detail.

On paper, the guitarwork on Nespithe might be sound like a description of jazz music before anything else, although you wouldn’t think it for a second while listening to music itself. Contrary to most metal, the chords seem to follow the lead guitar, as opposed to the other way around. While there’s certainly a proper method at work with these riffs, they sound liberated from conventional scales, pairing notes that wouldn’t normally go together. The guitars weave riffs that jitter and twitch like thoughts inside the mind of a madman. Demilich’s compositions are elevated greatly by a focus on harmony otherwise alien to most death metal. Tapping into the same pool of insight as neoclassical composers Krzysztof Penderecki and Gyorgy Ligeti, the guitar harmonies are unsettling, as if the two melodic lines are pulling in the opposite directions. Harmony is an exercise in music most often used to make a composition more beautiful or ‘pretty’, but the opposite rings true for Demilich’s use of it on Nespithe.

Although the lasting quality of Demilich’s work is large part in thanks to their inventive guitar work, nothing has contributed so much to the album’s reputation as have the now-infamous vocals of Antti Boman. The album booklet itself proudly proclaims that no effects were used to tweak the vocals, which might only be described as ‘cavernous’. It is typical in death metal for the vocalist to rely on aggression and volume to get his point across; Boman goes for something different entirely. Listeners have described his delivery as anything from a low guttural to a controlled burp, and they wouldn’t be wrong either; the man’s vocals are almost indiscernibly low-pitched, and quiet enough to slip right by an inattentive listener. I don’t know if I’ve heard of another extreme metal vocalist (sparing Silencer’s Nattramn) sparking such division in listeners; Boman demonstrates you don’t necessarily need volume to have presence. Although an acquired taste, the belching gutturals are eerie like nothing else. Where other death metal vocalists retain a shred of their humanity, the vocals here don’t sound like they’re being uttered by a human being. It’s no doubt clichéd to say in a metal review, but the gurgling sounds downright Lovecraftian in scope and atmosphere. The vocals are not intended to be the focus of the listener; instead, it adds a thundering resonance beneath the miasmatic riffs, quiet enough so that they never get in the way of the album’s strongest suit. Lacking entirely in dynamic, Boman’s delivery may be something of a one-trick gimmick, but considering that there’s still nothing else quite like it twenty years after the album’s release, the vocals still stand as a boon to the album’s standing and immortality. It’s a shame that some listeners can’t look past Demilich’s vocal choices, because even if Boman’s vocals lack the range of a more conventional masterpiece, they still come secondary to the otherworldly riffs that consume Nespithe.

Demilich enjoy a production style perfectly-fitted for their work. It sounds organic, pleasantly murky, and just crisp enough to showcase the technical finesse of the riffs themselves. The drum production could have done with a little greater dynamic range, but there’s nothing significant to complain about the way Nespithe has been crafted. In particular, the guitar tone never ceases to impress me; it sounds diseased and dark, as if the amplifiers are bellowing from some hellish underworld. When you imagine how difficult it must have been to properly mix vocals as low and subdued as Boman’s into the mix, it’s pretty impressive to hear them coming out so evenly with the rest of the music. Although the sheer alien illegibility of his vocals make the lyrics’ effect on the music negligible at best, Demilich have penned some pretty schizophrenic poetry to match the album’s monstrous atmosphere, and are well-worth checking out. It’s an album marvellously consistent in tone and style, and though Demilich do not stray any bit from their style, there are plenty of riffs that stand out as being memorable, provided the listener is diligent enough to seek them.

It only took one full-length for Demilich to innovate and, in turn, perfect their brand of alien death metal. In a way, it almost bodes well for the band’s cult of legacy that they never graced listeners with a second album. It’s forced listeners to get the most out of this one album, and left Nespithe a truly ‘one-of-a-kind’ experience. The belching bean-burrito burp vocals will turn some listeners off immediate, but to the uneasily swayed, there is richness and sophistication to enjoy here beyond almost anything else the genre has offered.

DEMILICH Nespithe

Album · 1993 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
UMUR
"Nespithe" is the debut full-length studio album by Finnish death metal act Demilich. The album was released in February 1993 by Necropolis Records. The album has long been out of print but Demilich have made the album available for free in digital form on their official website along with all their demos.

The music on "Nespithe" is technical, twisted and quite odd sounding death metal. The odd part of the description is mostly due to the very distinct sounding vocal delivery. Instead of having "regular" growling vocals in the music Demilich deliver a kinda juicy and burping vocal style. The vocals are similar to some of the juicy growling vocals on the first two Carcass albums. The difference is that the burping vocals on "Nespithe" are not complimentet by a higher pitched aggressive sneer. To be honest I couldn´t stop laughing the first couple of times I listened to "Nespithe". The vocals simply sounded so silly and I couldn´t take them serious at all. I still see them as a kinda humourous element in the music but I´ve grown to somewhat appreciate the innovative idea behind the choice of vocal style and oddly enough also the vocal style itself. I guess you can get used to a lot of things by trying hard enough or maybe some things simply take a long time to understand and appreciate. Well...consider yourself warned. This might be THE primary example of aquired taste.

...the reason why I´ve returned to "Nespithe" so many times despite my initial response to the vocals, is because the instrumental part of the music is intriguing to say the least. I like the fact that the music is technical in an old school death metal fashion. There´s a twisted and original take on how to play death metal on "Nespithe" that´s admirable IMO. Demilich clearly don´t follow any particular style or influence and as a consequence they sound very much like themselves. Their extremely long and oddly titled songtitles further adds to the innovative nature of the music. How about: "The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed)" or "The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...)". Now that´s what I call songtitles!

The sound production is organic and gritty but still clear enough for the listener to hear all instruments in the mix. The sound suits the music perfectly.

"Nespithe" is probably one of the most original death metal albums out there. Demilich sadly folded before releasing a successor because I´m sure they would have kept releasing some really innovative music had they continued. "Nespithe" is a testament they can be proud of though and I think even those who can´t stand the odd burping vocals will have to admit that "Nespithe" is a very original release. We need more boundary crushers in this world IMO and even though experiments like these are often an aquired taste, it´s albums like this one that also makes people discuss and talk about music. All those faceless followers will be forgotten tomorrow but an album like "Nespithe" is an underground classic, that is still hailed and praised even almost 20 years after it was released. "Nespithe" is a truly innovative release fully deserving a 4 star rating.

DEMILICH Nespithe

Album · 1993 · Death Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Time Signature
The cry...

Genre: tech / prog death metal

Ay ay ay ay! This is a tragedy! Writing this review breaks the heart.

Musically, this album is actually very good, as it contains a series of well-crafted technical death metal tracks which, while technical and progressive, never are too much. There is a lot of nice both aggressive and arty riffage on this album and numerous challenging twists and turns - just the way that technical death metal ought to be.

The whole conceptual imagery of the album is also kind of arty in a bizarre and morbid way which I totally appreciate, that is what death metal is all about anyway. I mean, I like the very long and bizarre song titles - I mean, how can you go wrong with "The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired...)" or "The Putrefying Road in the Nineteenth Extremity (...Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness...)" or "The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed)"? I mean, that's class.

So what's the tragic part?

The tragic part is the vocals. The vocals on this album are probably the most annoying vocals I've ever heard - and we're talking a level of annoyance that is otherwise associated with the likes of The Cheeky Girls and other deformities unleashed upon mankind via shows like Idol or The X-Factor. It's not because the vocals are growled - I do not have a problem with growling... if it's done right. But the vocals on this release are so guttural that I guess "burping" is a better label than "growling". In addition to being burping, the vocals are also extremely monotonous and devoid of any sort of aggressive emotion, and they do not fit the otherwise excellent and varied music on this album enough. Moreover, they are too loud in the mix and drowned in echo and reverb. It annoys me so much that I cannot listen to this release in one go from beginning to end; I simply need breaks from the vocals.

Gagh! I really hate it when this happens, but this is a case of the vocals ruining the listening experience, and that's a shame because the music is brilliant. It's five star music and zero star vocals which gives an undeserved 2.5 star rating.

I'd recommend this to fans of technical death metal who are less sensitive to burpy vocals than I am. Maybe such people can appreciate this album for the death metal masterpiece that it is.

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