Demonical – World Domination Review

It’s hard nowadays to come up with something insightful to say at the beginning of Swe-death reviews. You’ve read it all before, much like you’ve probably heard it all before if you’re a fan of the genre. That’s not to say I’m sick to Swe-death of HM-2-driven metal – far from it. There are new and old bands in the genre, meaning that bands are obviously thrilled about the sound too. Labels continue to sign, release, and promote the stuff, which means that label heads and A&R are still excited about Swe-death. Fans continue to flock to Swe-death bands new and old, so metalheads aren’t tired of it by any stretch. I think a big part of the appeal lies in its ability to be “melodic” in the connotative sense but simultaneously pulverize with the heaviness a lot of that other type of Swedish death metal (Gothenburg stuff) lacks.

Demonical is a reliably good band from that everflowing stream of Swe-death. I got into them on the fun Death Infernal and kept with them ever since. I know when I want some cool modern Swe-death that merges Dismember, Entombed, and Amon Amarth pretty effectively, I can turn to Demonical. World Domination doesn’t really rock the boat much, effectively following in the footsteps of predecessor Chaos Manifesto. From at least Death Infernal onward, things have been steady and discrepancies between records are matters of degree instead of difference. Demonical won’t release an outright bad album or a masterpiece, and one’s favorite record of theirs will simply be either the first one the listener hears or the one which has the highest number of standout riffs for the individual listener. That said, there is the odd surprise here – one, precisely – but we’ll get to that below.

A sense of predictability is a strong suit for Demonical. I expect quality Swe-death, and I get quality Swe-death. It’s nice not to be surprised when the norm is a bar set at a healthy height. Within ten seconds of “My Kingdom Done,” we see Demonical is in fine form, ripping through their familiar stylings with an enthusiasm that’s never left them. This enthusiasm carries over to the listener, and once the brief lead kicks, it’s hard not to feel like a kid hearing this stuff for the first time again and getting that goofy face most metalheads get when they hear a great part. Demonical succeeds again in enjoying of deep Amon Amarth trappings on “Victory” which sports a triumphant chorus but isn’t quite as successful at this trick as “Towards Greater Gods” was on World Domination’s predecessor Chaos Manifesto or “March for Victory” on Death Infernal. The Entombed stylings of closer “Calescent Death,” especially the guitar-driven melody in the chorus and some vocal phrasing that LG Petrov would definitely employ, serve to cap World Domination off on a strong, aggressive, and interesting note. The riffs scream classic Swe-death in a good way.

As usual, Demonical operates at a high level of competency in both songwriting and performance, making it hard to point to any real, damaging flaws. “Aeons of Death” has a lead that briefly sounds like the most famous DragonForce melody ever about thirty seconds in, becoming the most memorable part of the song even with the big, beefy Amon Amarth chorus. “We Stand as One” and “The Thin Darkness” are solid little ragers but lack the big hooks which makes Demonical tracks like “The Order” or “Torture Parade” really tick. The verse of “Slipping Away,” which features a solid guest vocal performance by Nils Patrik Johansson (Astral Doors, Civil War), is hardly recognizable as Demonical – it’s weird to hear them playing what’s practically a ballad and being absent their chainsaw tone for this long. It does have the best solo on the record though, and Demonical admirably does an emotionally hefty chorus in their usual modus operandi of charismatic growling, chainsaw guitars, and pounding drums.

World Domination is a good record that’s full of quality tunes. I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as Chaos Manifesto or Lik’s Misanthropic Breed, but it’s still a more than worthwhile slab of Swe-death that does a lot right. The production is about what you’d expect: big, loud, chunky, and dominated by guitar and vocals. That it doesn’t sound as good as Misanthropic Breed, which sported my favorite Swe-death production in ages, is a minor criticism at best. I have no reservations recommending World Domination. It’s a well-done record, and another quality entry into Demonical’s catalogue.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 256kbps VBR mp3
Label: Agonia Records
Releases Worldwide: October 23rd, 2020

« »