It might have been cool had Toronto trio Demontage decided to call their Shadow Kingdom debut, “The Principle Extinction” as in, an extinction of the beliefs of a person or group, but The Principal Extinction, as in, either the initial or that of a school administrator, works too. This being their third album overall since forming nine years ago, I’m sure they thought it all out beforehand and picked that which best represented the music.
About that music: Demontage traffic in a heavy blackened thrash. Right in opener “Entourage of Demons Dances,” one can hear shades of Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Hellhammer and Darkthrone, the latter evident not only in the relatively lo-fi production value of the drumming, but also the clear punk roots. But let it be understood: Demontage do not make for easy listening. The record is six tracks, two of which approach 10 minutes in length, of pure metallic fuck-all; the band’s reckless attitude injecting “Accursed Saboteur” and “Satan of Self (The Warrior)… and Seer of Truths (The Conjurer)” with an aggressively free-spirited feel.
Nonetheless, there is some diversity of sound to be had – Demontage aren’t just blasting blackthrash straight through the whole album. “Satan of Self (The Warrior)… and Seer of Truths (The Conjurer)” is my personal pick of The Principal Extinction, as the track’s second half showcases a subtle and rudimentary melodicism approached like a caveman seeing fire for the first time. That sounds like a dig on the band, but it’s not. As they execute the change in the song, it’s more charming than it is anything else. And they pull it off reasonably well, leading with a raucous build into the intro of closer “A Thousand Dooms” (points for the title), which uses most but not all of its 9:56 runtime in the name of audio bludgeoning.
Of particular note is the solo work of guitarist/vocalist Spatilomantis, which manages to show through despite the production. The rhythm section of bassist Perverted Priest and drummer Abominable Reverend (all they need is Atrocious Rabbi and Imam of Ill Repute and they’ve got their Abrahamic bases covered!) keeps a mostly straightforward attack, delighting in the cacophony and chaos they manage even if the songs rely on traditional structures.
The Principal Extinction is old school bordering on retro, but it’s also good fun you don’t have to think too much about, and in the face of a North American black metal contingent that’s gaining popularity largely by bastardizing the genre with elements of psychedelia or other outside influences, Demontage do an excellent job of staying on point. Maybe that’s why they didn’t go with “The Principal Extinction” for a title; their principles are unquestionably in tact and seem under no threat whatsoever.
Tags: Canada, Demontage, Ontario, Shadow Kingdom, Toronto