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#albumoftheday REVIEW: DEMORALISER: A LIVING NIGHTMARE

Demoraliser are a metalcore band hailing from Grimsby, a seaport on the Humber Estuary in Lincolnshire, England. They were formed in 2010 and soon began releasing monstrous EPs that earned them heaps of praise, especially in the underground scene. The quality — and brutality — of these EPs, along with their reputation as a pulverizing live band, earned them opening spots for Bury Your Dead, All Shall Perish, Terror, Defeater and more. They released their first full-length album, A Living Nightmare, in the UK during October of 2012 on Siege Of Amida Records, otherwise known as SOAR. Lucky for American fans, SOAR is now part of Century Media Records and the album is finally getting a Stateside release on February 10th, 2014.

I usually don’t bother to review re-releases, but I’m making an exception here because, quite simply, I was blown away by this one. And I had no idea that it even existed until I was informed about this re-release, which leads me to believe that there are thousands of other metal fans here in the States who’ve also never heard of Demoraliser, something I have to do my small part to correct.

The label describes Demoraliser as “the ultimate bridge between the hardcore attack of Bury Your Dead and the metallic onslaught of Darkest Hour” and I would have to agree. Mixed by Will Putney (Suicide Silence, Northlane, Heart Of A Coward), A Living Nightmare is a loud, aggressive and otherwise perfect combination of the best elements of hardcore and metal. In other words, it’s a record that should propel the band unto the big league.

In terms of the vocals, James ‘Dex’ Dexter screams and barks in a way that seems to split the difference between hardcore and death metal. Lots of singers try to do that but it just doesn’t work. Either they’re trying too hard or they’re doing it half-assed. Even with the best intentions, it’s just not easy to combine these things into a vocal sound of your own, but Dex does it spectacularly and makes it seem easy. My guess would be that he just sings in the way that feels natural to him. His style might be a combination of different genres, but I don’t think he ever sat down and said to himself that he had to come up with a way to blend these things together. His voice and style of singing just so happens to naturally have elements of hardcore and death metal — and even a touch of screamo (or so it seems to me).

Musically, these guys do a lot of different things, often within the confines of a single song. While the bass and drums usually provide a crushing, driving rhythm, making the songs burst with energy, they shift from one style to another effortlessly. A song like “The House Always Wins” can have bone-crushing, almost brutal death metal drums one moment and then the beats shift into something that’s more like grinding modern metal the next. I love how the songs leave lots of spaces between the verses and choruses for pummeling drums and the occasional guitar solo. (Their songs do tend to be short, being that most of them are as fast as they are furious, but they never feel hurried and they leave plenty of breathing room for each member of the band to shine.) And, speaking of guitars, wow, the guitarists are mind-blowingly good. It’s amazing to hear so many different styles within their songs. Just like the rhythm section, the guitarists seem to change genres frequently during most of their songs. They just jump from one style to another. But, here’s the reason why they’re so brilliant: it never sounds as though they’re purposely shifting from one genre to another. It’s not like they sat around and said that they needed to put a part that sounds like Korn in one song and a part that sounds like Pantera or Maiden in another. It’s obvious that they just wrote their songs by letting their creativity flow, harnessing all of their influences and just letting them come out wherever their songs needed them.

There’s another ingredient to Demoraliser that makes them superior to many of their peers: their brutally honest, razor sharp lyrics, which are bursting with keen observations about society and plenty of rebellion to go with them. “I want to rewrite our history / After everything you stole from me,” Dex screeches during “Pretender.” “You think you can pull the wool over our eyes / There’s not a chance we can let you walk away.” And this is not a band that you should want to walk away from. In fact, you should run straight toward them, flashing metal horns and banging your head. And scream along if you dare. I have a feeling it would prove cathartic and I think that’s one of the things Demoraliser wants their music to be.

Century Media promises a new Demoraliser record in the latter stages of 2014 and I am very much looking forward to it. I have no doubt that it will be one of the best metal albums of the year. But don’t wait around for that to drop before you check them out because A Living Nightmare is one blistering re-release that you simply must have, assuming you’re a self-respecting metal fan.

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Written by

Paris365

An entertainment journalist for 20 years, Michael McCarthy was a columnist and contributing editor for the magazines Lollipop and LiveWire. He co-created and wrote for Cinezine, one of the '90's most popular movie E-zines. The only time he's not listening to music is when he's watching television shows and movies or reading, usually music magazines.

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