Mysticism goes hand in hand with metal.
Geezer Butler consuming Dennis Wheatley novels.
Coven’s ‘Satanic Mass.’ King Diamond being a member of the Church of Satan, it’s been there since the year dot.
And in these seemingly motiveless and godless times, there’s been an increase in people referencing such movements.
Sometimes it’s genuine. Sometimes it’s for irony. But it’s when it fed into music that we get interesting results.
From Philadelphia, Deathmonger have been on the go since 2013.
Made up of members of Cape ov Bats, Deathmonger is a chance for them to explore a more melodic sound, but staying with the esoteric interests that make them such an interesting proposition when it comes to dissecting their lyrics and covers.
There’s something so deliciously oddball about the cut n paste cover, that you can forgive it for going for obvious touchstones (pyramids, naked women, statues).
It resembles a cheap Michael Moorcock paperback from the early 70’s that you’d find in War on Want, and undersells the contents (but in the best way possible as you’re thrown by the immediate influences).
‘Year One’ is a chiming opener that does the job of setting the odd, esoteric tone in fifty seconds.
While it’s short length means that it doesn’t build to anything particularly spectacular, the ringing guitar kind of feels like a church bell so it becomes more of an announcement: the ceremony is about to begin, repent and ye shall be saved.
Sweetly seguewaying into ‘Aphrodisiac’, this stars off as a kind of Discharge/Integrity style number heavy on the vocals, and the guitars sitting in the background (certainly less prominently than expected).
The vocal is a cross between your standard hardcore barker with a bit of Sakevi from G.I.S.M in the higher notes.
Halfway through, the pace changes completely.
Slowing down, the band head into post metal territory which builds into a crescendo, throwing in chanting, gang like vocals. It’s utterly brilliant and feels like a mash up of Mogwai and Current 93, while the third act is straight up hardcore.
An exhausting, but exhilarating five minutes but worth it.
‘Hounds of the Mother’, by contrast, is a more conventional song. But it’s pace and groove keeps the listener going as it begins as a d-beat driven song before going more into epic crust territory.
The bass to ‘Broken Bastards’ has a calming effect on the listener, soundtracking a sample from ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ which puts the title of the song into perspective: people don’t like individuality, so they do their best to isolate you and drain your spirit.
The rest of the song is instrumental: an epic, melodic monolith that builds to a grinding conclusion. But then wrong foots the listener by throwing in a lone, jangly (almost flamenco like) guitar.
With references to Pazuzu, horror vacui and extensive notes about Cŵn Annwn (spectral hounds in Welsh mythology), the mysticism that is evident on the cover is given a suitably dynamic soundtrack through the music.
Unfortunately, lyrics are not included, which is a shame as it would be interesting to read how the lyrics embrace and build upon the themes.
A cassette release is coming soon. I’d grab one if I were you. Encourage them to make more records like this.
3.5 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 22/03/18