The notion Edinburgh, Scotland’s Demonic Obedience is hardly the band it once was is more than a talking point. In truth, that’s because this is now a bonafide group in the first place. Demonic Obedience debuted in 2013 as a one-man operation by George Ntavelas. After producing 2014’s Morbid Supremacy of Evil and 2016’s Nocturnal Hymns to the Fallen, Ntavelas returns with some backup, in the form of a vocalist and bassist. While the band is seemingly still very much his brainchild, there is a new dimension to what Ntavelas does that’s indubitably entrancing.
On Fatalistic Uprisal Of Abhorrent Creation, the new album by Demonic Obedience, the trio presents an arresting, elemental return to the music scene. With industrial flourishes obfuscating the death metal pastiche it has presented before, over these eight new songs, the fresh dimensions prove to be affecting, and addictive.
“Conjuration,” Creation‘s opener, is an eviscerating journey with the new-look of Demonic Obedience. The initial chemistry among players is solid, as they propel the aggressive track forward with dense guitars and shredded vocals. Ntavelas and company maintain the intensity virtually from start to finish. The thundering ascension of “Awakening,” featuring Mark Stormwhipper’s big-room basslines, and the breakneck pace of “Outbreak” suggest the band is omnivorous in its delivery. There are strains of black metal here, hints of thrumming hardcore there and technical riffing that offers glimpses of maturation. Even the soporific build for “Act 6(66)” splays out into a plundering, All Pigs Must Die-ish “Annihilation” and a relentless closer, “Scythes Bearer.” The latest iteration of Demonic Obedience is most assuredly more contemporary, and brings a newfound edge to its execution.
At just over 30 minutes, Creation gives you just enough to speculate about, while proving satisfying as a whole. As a new performer with no public credits, German vocalist Kruxator has muscular microphone command that is still seeking distinction. When one considers the more acutely beguiling death metal singers, like Bloodbath’s Mikael Akerfeldt, what comes with that is an acceptance of, indeed, how difficult it is to imbue your own style to a subgenre with many strict conventions. The passage of time may alter this, but regardless the vocals here are stabbing in a great fashion.
Early in the band’s arc, fault could certainly be found in how underdeveloped Evil and Hymns came across. The frantic rhythms felt nostalgic, yet the drums were a bit sterile. Disarming riffs lacked coherency at moments. Such is a pitfall of one-artist exercises. Without foils, nimble and precise editing and more diverse composition processes, the likelihood for mastery of a recording drops precipitously. As a fully realized trio, a performing act currently a few albums into its career now experiences a type of creative renaissance.