oly Slayer imitation! The Bay Area band has influenced countless metallers, but this degree of homage is ridiculous. Demiricous (what the hell does that mean?) are four young thrashers from Indiana who sound like the only album they've ever listened to is Reign in Blood. That's not a bad thing, as Reign is arguably the best metal album ever. But when does tribute become theft? Hearing Demiricous is like dating someone who's just like your last ex—it's oddly familiar, and gets creepy fast.
Out of the great '80s thrash bands, Slayer had the most distinct style, mainly because its palette was the narrowest. While colleagues like Metallica and Megadeth wrote complex epics, Slayer never strayed from thrash essentials. That meant no ballads, no instrumentals, and relentless thrash beats, which were basically sped-up polka beats (kicks on downbeats, snares on upbeats). More importantly, Slayer developed its own melodic sense. With their wide leaps and spiky dissonance, Slayer riffs are instantly recognizable. Technically speaking, flatted seconds, tritones, and Locrian mode form Slayer's sound. Practically speaking, One is an entire album of "Angel of Death."
But Demiricous aren't the first Slayer clones. That dubious honor goes to Sweden's The Haunted, whose Made Me Do It was the last great Slayer album. Ironically, The Haunted lost the plot in recent years by trying to sound like themselves. And since Slayer's last album was in 2001, with a follow-up only vaguely in sight, someone had to make the new Slayer album. Too bad it wasn't Slayer.
Metalheads will have fun playing "spot the Slayer riff" here. There's "Angel of Death" in "Repentagram," "Raining Blood" in "Beyond Obscene," and "War Ensemble" in "Heathen Up (Out for Blood)." The solos are full of whinnying dive-bombs straight out of the Slayer playbook. To be fair, Demiricous only cops Slayer's riffs. The drums are the biggest difference; they're mechanically precise, in contrast to Dave Lombardo's crazed unpredictability. The vocals are faceless but functional growls and rasps. The heavy, clear production is a modern touch that Slayer never had. And the band updates the Slayer sound with blastbeats here and there.
So One doesn't feel like a Slayer album; it merely sounds like one. The Slayer of yore made its name through raw, almost runaway intensity. This here is something much more clinical and historically informed. That's not to say this album doesn't kick ass. It does—that's what's frustrating. These boys can obviously play, and their songwriting is tight and compact. By itself, this album is a pleasure to hear. It's just that this is 2006, and Demiricous sounds like 1986.