Upon initially examining the do-it-yourself ethos of Grenoble, France progressive death metal project Demenseed I’d wondered if I’d clicked on the wrong link. Formed in 2007 as a symphonic (read: melodic) doom metal band named Dreams Reflection it’d be about three years before guitarist and main songwriter Luc Messina decided to change the project’s name to Demenseed and focus on an old school form of progressive death metal. So, if you fire up their ‘Light Window’ (2010) demo you may not be expecting the mushy, weirdly melodic death metal it has to offer. By the time the boys had recorded ‘Granite Forest’ (2015), which they call an EP but it is almost an hour long, the drum machine might’ve sounded weak but the style of death metal they’d landed upon was pretty solid. A mix of modern influences from early Gojira and Supuration to Bolt Thrower and Death all bled together for a pretty decent introduction for a still-developing band but it wouldn’t be until 2018 that things picked up again.
So far this year Demenseed have graced us with a re-recording of ‘Granite Forest’ with real drums and improved sound and released ‘Blood Stained Lamb’ (2018) an EP that shows a more accessible ‘groove metal’ side of their sound that I don’t enjoy at all. Next in line is ‘Growing Darkness’ and this time I think they’ve done a much better job with both the DIY production/mixing but also in their incorporation of old school death metal riffing and their own angular progressive death metal style. There is a sort of signature ‘loosness’ that had formed within Messina‘s guitar compositions previous that appears as flourish rather than guiding persona on ‘Growing Darkness’; Because of this change the EP feels less like a conceptual demo and more like a professional recording.
The groove still dominates the experience and while I understand this is a generational thing in terms of approaching guitar work but I found myself wanting something a bit more clever and spirited in terms of rhythm guitar riffs. That said the material on ‘Growing Darkness’ is their best to date and “Eternal Flesh” is perhaps the realization of a lot of the potential they’d hinted at on the previous EP. I could say much the same for the title track though the Bolt Thrower-esque groove of it differentiates from the more atmospheric feeling of “Eternal Flesh”. The potential I hear in Demenseed and the compositions from Messina largely accumulates when they attempt complex and bounding rhythms rather than pure heaviness. The strength of this style is its rawness but also in the twisted meandering focus of the pieces. A decent EP that shows some great potential.
Sparkling in the darkness. 3.5/5.0
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