Artist: Demon King
Album Title: The Final Tyranny
Label: The Artisan Era
Date of Release: 12 February 2021
Whilst it may not be my number one style of heavy metal, I’m delighted that I enjoy technical death metal. Delighted and somewhat relieved, given that it is one of those genres of extreme music that has ballooned in recent years. It seems to be the darling of the underground currently, with a plethora of bands emerging from the woodwork to showcase their skills to the world.
Today it’s the turn of Tennessee trio Demon King to demonstrate they have what it takes to join the tech death masses. They only formed in 2019, with this EP entitled ‘The Final Tyranny’ their debut. The fact that the four-track demo finds itself on The Artisan Era roster is positive, as I have a lot of time for this label. They seem to get it right more often than not, with high quality material delivered on a regular basis.
It is also a positive to note that the trio features original Enfold Darkness member Matt Brown on vocals and guitar duty, alongside bassist Malcolm Pugh (Inferi, A Lothing Requiem) and drummer Jack Blackburn (ex-Inferi, ex-Enfold Darkness, ex-Vital Remains). Within the ranks therefore, is plenty of experience, talent and know-how and they certainly go all-out to prove that this is the case on ‘The Final Tyranny’.
It may only last for 17 minutes across four tracks, but the trio waste absolutely no time in going on the attack, and maintain the intensity for the entire release.
Up first is ‘Tyrannical Reign Of The Deceiver’ and it is probably my favourite of the bunch. A swift drum roll introduces the listener to a technical death metal assault that has a demonstrable black metal edge to it. There’s a short, atmospheric interlude or two where the dark black metal malevolence comes to the fore, as well as some cinematic keys for good measure. The guitar alternates between the fast-picked black metal style and chunkier death metal riffs, and Matt Brown’s growls are higher-pitched and raspy rather than deep and guttural. But the technical abilities of the trio are without question. The bass is vibrant and playful whilst being ominous, whilst the drumming is utterly ferocious but sharp and tight. The lead guitar solos are short-lived, but laced with understated melody, as is the entire song. It’s not hum-along melody, but it gives enough in that direction to offer the listener something more than just an instrumental gymnastics event.
In essence, if you like my description of the opener, you’ll also like the remaining three cuts because this is the Demon King style. ‘Transmutation Of The Artilect’, if anything, offers something even faster in pace, with the feet and arms of drummer Jack Blackburn threatening to fall off at any moment when warp speed is reached. Mind you, the impossibly fast fingers of Brown and Pugh are equally impressive it must be said.
The final strings to the bow are the excellent cover artwork from Justin si-Set Abraham, and a polished production that allows some semblance of aural order to the aggressive tumult. Put it all together and we have a very interesting and enjoyable debut offering from Demon King. I hope it won’t be too long before we’re treated to a full-length release because on the strength of ‘The Final Tyranny’, these three Americans have what it takes to succeed in a very competitive genre.
The Score of Much Metal: 80%
Further reviews from 2021:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: