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The Hate Chamber
(Mascot Records)

It doesn't require a very insightful mind to predict what DEMIURG sound like. A simple glance at a cross-reference list of all of the bands with which the various members of Sweden's DEMIURG are involved makes it clear what to expect when listening to their second album, "Hate Chamber." Apparently the creation of RIBSPREADER vocalist and guitarist Rogga Johansson and featuring the guitar work of omnipresent guitarist / producer, Dan Swanö, DEMIURG accomplish precisely what one would expect, a solid work of brutal and relentless Swedish Death Metal. And, although somewhat predictable, this album is by no means uninteresting. The most engrossing moments on "Hate Chamber" are as poignant as one would expect from such luminaries of the Swedish scene as the members of DEMIURG. Melodic and devastating riffs played with deadly precision form the basis for DEMIURG's music. The album is not without its weaknesses, however. The second track, for example, incorporates a number of elements of Death Metal that detract from the overall effect of the music such as the use of stop / start, mosh-Metal style riffs and a ridiculous sample or two. The majority of the album, however, avoids these pitfalls. In fact, by the time the time one gets to 'The Terror Before Sleep' and 'Wolves At The Gates' the album has already improved substantially. 'Wolves At The Gates' begins with a slow melodic passage before settling into mid-paced, galloping Swedish Death Metal while the next track, 'The Apocalyptic', has a distinctly AT THE GATES feel to it. Perhaps the peak of the album is the monumental, 'The Convulse Meridian' where dense and darkly melodious passages abound and are infused with violence and the gravity of pure death. Also, like a few other parts on the album, this track successfully incorporates keyboards to enhance the effect. The most punishing track on "Hate Chamber" is the penultimate, 'Opus Morbidity (City of Ib Pt. III).' Among the fastest songs on the album, this track relies on excruciatingly brutal riffs with seamless transitions to elevate the intensity before the final track, the epic 'Cult Of Dagon' closes out the album. In the end, "Hate Chamber" doesn't break any new ground in the history of Swedish Death Metal and there are certainly other more accomplished bands currently treading these waters. Nonetheless, this album does contain some extraneous elements that are unusual in this context and make "Hate Chamber" an interesting listen. The use of keyboards and alternate vocal styles may be the most unexpected and well-executed examples of this. Unfortunately, the album suffers at times from some uninspired songwriting and perhaps would have been better had a few of the tracks been left off the album entirely. Overall, this is quite a decent album and one that will likely be highly respected by those whose desire for Swedish Death Metal can simply never be satiated.

Jason Campbell

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