Demimonde – Cygnus Odyssey

Rating: 4.5/5
Distributor/label: MetalGate
Distributor/label URL: www.metalgate.cz/en/
Released: 2017
Buy Album [URL]: https://demimondeofficial.bandcamp.com
Band Website: https://www.demimonde.cz

1 c 12Band line-up:

De.polar – vocals, mutoids
Afagddu – bass, programming
Tintas – guitar
Iggy – guitar
Bizzaro – drums

Tracklistings:

1. The Final Destiny (prelude)
2. The Generation Ship
3. Event Horizon
4. Te Kore
5. Data Breed (interlude)
6. Singularity (Absolute Word explanation)
7. Laval Formation
8. Dark Matter

Review:

Demimonde formed in 1995. Their first black and doom metal songs featured on their LP demo album, ‘The Warrior’s Poets’, which caught the attention of many Czech labels, and some outside of the area. In 2000, they recorded ‘Mutant Star’, which was more avant-garde. The album is still talked of today, and is somewhat of a legend. Due to its success, the band attracted the French label ‘Holy Records’, and they sold hundreds of copies of ‘MS’ through it. Even so, they soon terminated. After 16 years, they are back with the multi-genre ‘Cygnus Odyssey’ and are playing live again.

As the name suggests, this music really is a spacey sounding adventure. The strange, sometimes jazz fusion inspired chord progressions create an effect that is definitely somewhat alien. The unconventional song structures and the relative lack of clean singing also subconsciously make the listener feel this music is not of this Earth. Furthermore, the impossible to predict, explosive drum beats give the effect of entering, or rather being forced into the unknown. In fact just listening to the percussion alone, would be an interesting experience. Time signature changes are all over the place, and even standard 4/4 often sounds fresh and exciting with these guys.

Not only does this music achieve its goal, it is also extremely well written. All the instrumentalists work with each other beautifully, as if they are one super instrument from Satan. Or perhaps a black hole. Furthermore, it would be so tempting to be lazy and write cheesy keyboard parts, pretentious orchestral sections and overindulgent musicianship. However, Demimonde balance all their ideas with almost perfect taste, and in a way that is genuinely terrifying; even when compared to many black metal bands. However, this isn’t BM, it’s… Well, as suggested, it’s kind of a mix of everything metal; industrial, symphonic, progressive, death and avant-garde, at the very least.

Perhaps the biggest flaw of this band, is that their work is so relentlessly alarming, that one gets used to the mood. Their calmer, though sinister piece ‘Data Breed’, is their main break from the previous insanity, but there are arguably not enough of these moments. Even so, DB is a powerful, minimal, orchestral work, that again, shouldn’t really be too effective. But for whatever reason, hearing the same idea over and over only puts the listener more on edge. It’s like it is mocking he or she, and saying ‘I’m still here, this feeling isn’t going to go away’. When it is finally done with, it bursts into the song ‘Singularity’. The guitars play a death metal version of the previous symphonic ostinato, again proving that everything is carefully planned, in their writing.

In conclusion, this is excellent experimental music. It does have the odd flaw here and there, though. Considering how much the album builds in tension, the ending of it is somewhat of a letdown. The guitar riffs aren’t the world’s most original, but as there is so much going on top of them, this isn’t such an issue. As cliched as they are, they’re still a lot of fun anyway, and it’s always interesting to hear them gradually twisted in rhythm, with the skilled drum work backing them up. I strongly recommend this album to anyone who likes something a little different, and to someone who wants a bit of an adventure. This is not easy listening!

Review by Simon the Mighty
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