I know there are many who would disagree with me but it’s hard to get thrash right these days.
To these ears, many new bands focus on the wrong aspects of the old school, too much humor and not enough ferocity. This isn’t the case with the recently reformed Indianapolis-based quartet Demiricous and their latest record, Chaotic Lethal.
For those who don’t know the story, these guys came together in the early oughts and started ripping the world apart with their beefed-up brand of thrash that also incorporated elements of death and hardcore.
While occasionally dogged by Slayer comparisons, they nevertheless forged their own identity and began climbing the ladder of metal recognition rung by bloody rung. But as too often is the case, they fell victim to bad management and just plain shitty luck. While they appeared to go dormant they’ve returned with their best album to date.
'Chaotic Lethal' is a paint-peeling blast of rage from start to finish. Their wrath doesn’t seem to have much to do with their own bad luck as much as it’s a condemnation of the horrible state of the world today.
The album opener, “Unconditional Hate," drenches everything in gasoline and strikes a match. It’s a hell of a way to start an album, and it’s followed in quick succession by “Terminal Future “ and “Smoke Chaser”, each song more intense than the last. Demiricous certainly excel at thrash tempos, but each tune is full of twists and turns and the group handles each shift in tempo with great mastery.
And while the album is fueled by relentless intensity, there is nuance to be found throughout. For instance, “The Follow “ and “Fuck the Fire” both have riffs of finger-twisting technicality. At other times, such as on the epic closer “Faith Crime”, they slip in sections of droning guitar arpeggios to build up a palpable sense of menace.
The title track also utilizes this technique and pairs it with almost post-punk style drums in the vein of Killing Joke, imbuing the track with immense tension. When they return to more familiar territory the tension breaks but the intensity is even more dialed in.
The highlight of the album might just be “Merciless Slut Cult." This song is a short blast of punked-up insanity and conjures images of circle pits fueled by some previously unknown amphetamine. And after the guitar solos, look for the bridge which brings to mind Suffocation in their early prime. This song is over three minutes long but feels like it blows by in thirty seconds.
Don’t call it a comeback, Chaotic Lethal is a career-defining record, even if it comes some 14 years after their last release. The sound is teeth-grinding tension from front to back yet spilling over with detail as well. This may be thrash but any sense of nostalgia is washed away by waves of violence.
Let’s just hope we don’t have to wait too long for what comes next.