Demiser – Through the Gate Eternal Review

It’s spring in Minnesota. Given the harshness of our winters, these longer daylight hours and warmer temperatures always feel transformative, but after these past 12 months of hell, and with vaccination rates climbing and new Covid cases dropping, one can almost imagine normal life emerging from the pandemic like the landscape emerges as the snow disappears. In physical terms, this means the compulsion to go outside is strong. Absorb some sunlight, smell the mild air, watch things grow. In metal terms, it’s time to put down the doom and dsbm and reach for something fun, fast and filthy. South Carolina’s blackened thrash band Demiser have spent pandemic isolation crafting their debut full-length, Through the Gate Eternal. These 34 minutes of hard drinking, high octane Satanic Panic fuel will help you forget not only the last year of hardship, but also where you are, how you got that gash on your head and who threw up on your shoes. 

Demiser fall into that small sweet spot of copping a previous generation’s sound while retaining edge and vitality. Venom are obvious forbearers while contemporaries include Hellripper, as most of these nine songs walk a fine line between black metal and thrash. A few, like “Hook and Torment,” lean more toward the latter. Hints of Motörhead  can be heard in the tastefully titled “Warfuck Demonlust,” while an entire 100 proof bottle of Lemmy’s own special batch has been poured into the bathtub booze of “Deathstrike.” Aside from an acoustic interlude and parts of “Offering,” Through the Gate Eternal lives the mantra of “drive it like it’s stolen,” careening from riff to riff and solo to solo while aptly named frontman Demiser the Demiser croaks out blackened tales of whisky fueled rituals most profane. 

Demiser craft a fine record by keeping things simple and squarely in their chosen genre’s wheelhouse. You come to blackened thrash for riffs more infectious than MRSA, and Through the Gate Eternal delivers. Especially memorable are the down and dirty chorus riff on “Deathstrike” and the melodic touches found in “Hook and Torment.” The latter is part of a three song run along with “Demiser the Demiser” and “Warfuck Demonlust” that closes the album in impressive fashion. “Demiser the Demiser” especially has all the hallmarks of a classic. Its blistering riffs flow like unholy water into the stupidly simple chorus “I AAAM! Demiser the Demiser” so naturally that one imagines if the band were one of the big thrash outfits of yesteryear, they’d be closing every concert’s second encore with the song to this day.

There are a few nits to pick with Through the Gate Eternal, which shouldn’t be surprising considering it’s a debut. Thankfully, these are minor. I found the opening title track rather generic for the first couple spins, although it did grow on me over time. More problematic is the somewhat death-and-roll second track “Offering,” which in isolation is good, but changes the momentum of the album when placed in the second slot. “Deathstrike” is good enough to overshadow the uneven nature of the first two tracks, but “Offering” would have been better as a change of pace later in the album. Conceptually, I see where acoustic interlude “Song of Byleth” is coming from, with overtly pretty plucking over the literal sound of the world burning, but like so many interludes, it’s superfluous.

I have an upper limit to how much I enjoy such straight-forward retro worship, but Demiser hit that ceiling at full speed, splattering blood with an alcohol content three times the legal limit absolutely everywhere. This is an unusually assured debut album by musicians who obviously love their craft and respect their elders, and if you’re in the mood for some dirty blackened thrash long on fun and short on pretense, then Through the Gate Eternal might scratch that itch. 


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Boris Records
Websites: demiser.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/demiseroffical
Releases Worldwide: March 12th, 2021

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