DEMONICAL, Darkness Unbound (2013, Cyclone Empire)
Another of the more densely-populated Subdivisions of the Big Dumb Skull Cover, the Screaming Skull is, more often than not, a cartoony guy. But not this guy. This is one tormented dome of bone. His wretched grimace conjures fear, misery, despair, doom and all the other fun stuff once can associate with meeting one’s end. But what’s with the doohickey affixed to the skull’s top left side? Skeletal remains of a blowfly? A petrified feather? A JFK-ish shard of bone caught just as a bullet grazes the dome? Write down your top 100 guesses and mail it to Big Dumb Skulls, c/o The Council. Only entries written in the blood of a virgin on aged parchment paper will be accepted. One entry per person.
This skull cover is exclusive to those who bought the limited digipak edition, the one with the cover of Kreator’s “World Beyond.” Skulls are worth the extra effort, and cash, so we applaud this marketing decision. The cover version is pretty much what you’d expect a death-blasted, de-tuned death metal cover of a Kreator song to sound like (the guitar lead is killer, very much respectful of Frank Blackfire while severely out-intensifying him). The original is better, but that’s usually always the case. As for Demonical’s originals, these guys clearly have the patented Brutal Swedish Death Metal sound nailed down tight. With a couple guys from Centinex, you’d expect that. It’s just so incredibly straightforward and unvarying that it gets old fast. And I love this sound, but by 2013, even the brootal-Swede-death revival has lost its luster. We will always return to the first generation when we want the real deal. Unless it’s Tribulation or Morbus Chron or the like, bands actually moving the style forward in leaps (Tribulation) and extra-wide bounds (Morbus Chron). But yeah, I’ll take Toximia or Uncanny over Demonical any day, even if this is undeniably pro and superior in what it’s trying to accomplish.
— Friar Wagner