Fearancy – Dæmonium Review

Earlier this week (unless this review is published next week; then it would be some time last week), in a casual conversation, Doom et Al declared that “time is a human construct: it doesn’t exist. So there is no such thing as a late review.” I immediately agreed; the Fearancy review wasn’t actually late, I argued – I just hadn’t written it yet. At this point, I was already several days behind my submission for Dæmonium, the sophomore full-length release from the Austrian “modern” melodic death metal quartet. So here I sit, on the eve of its release date, finally putting pen to paper and writing out my thoughts on the album.

Why was I so late in doing so? Essentially because of this: I don’t really know how I feel about the album. I’ve taken notes1, listened through the album plenty of times, and essentially gave myself an extra week to write this, but the truth is that I find the album to be frustratingly straightforward; it isn’t catchy or dangerous; it isn’t innovative, and it isn’t stale either; I don’t walk away from it with a strong feeling of… anything in particular. In fact, the most promising moments of the album are in its opening track; “Last Disease” opens with clean guitars that rapidly rise to a crescendo, morphing into a duel between ringing guitar riffs and rapid drumming that gives an almost-progressive power metal feel.

Actually, with a couple of slight modifications, Dæmonium would make a solid power metal album, and, at first, I wondered if I was in for a thrashy-power-metal group masquerading as melodeath. The vocals, however, immediately dissuaded me from that notion, in the form of rasping shouts that care for neither heavy brutality or catchy adventure. Across the album, the vocal performance is the Thing That Is Not Like The Others, and while I have respect for the style – and don’t think it’s performed badly by any means – I definitely think that this album would feel like a heavy power metal act if not for them, which is a bizarre divide that is difficult to move past. “Rise and Fall” is a heavy tune, with pounding riffs, energetic drumming, and ultimately non-impactful vocals. This is a song that’s trying to be dangerous, but can’t quite make it. “All Is Lost,” on the other hand, is much livelier, with excitable drumming and catchy riffs… but again, overlaid with raspy shouting that doesn’t quite fit. The vocal melodies (such as they are), however, do fit, which is yet another head-scratching element to Fearancy‘s style – the catchier moments and repetitions used in the album’s many solid choruses make me think that any number of clean vocalists could take the album’s vocal lines exactly as they are and not sound out-of-place at all.

I want to emphasize again that none of these are meant to be critiques on the band members themselves – the vocal style grew on me as I ventured through the album. Everyone brings their A-game to Dæmonium, and the album is produced in such a way as to emphasize the dark, gritty, and angry edge Fearancy bring to the table. If I don’t entirely love the way the album is mixed, at least every musician is audible throughout. However, this is a loud album. By the time “Instincts” rolls around, the guitar tone, sharp and gritty, begins to grate on the ears. Dæmonium is dominated by riffs, which is fine, but towards the end of the album, I’m almost more focused on the volume of the music than its content – there simply isn’t enough variety in the back half of the album’s forty minutes.

I opened this review by declaring that I don’t have strong feelings for or against Dæmonium, but enough of it is just off enough for me to know I’m not likely to return. I don’t fully understand what Fearancy is aiming for here – or I’m simply not its intended audience. There’s a clear talent on display, and enough good ideas throughout to hint at potential. I am, however, sad to say that, for this listener at least, that potential fails to coalesce into a memorable album with a unique identity to return to and root for.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 319 kbps mp3
Label: MDD Records
Websites: facebook.com/fearancy
Releases Worldwide: August 13th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. While many of my colleagues take notes as a regular part of the review process, I typically only turn to it as a last resort if I have no idea what I’m going to write on the review.
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