Thursday, January 30, 2014

Demilich, reissued

Everything about Demilich is intriguing. Their name, which sounds like a German curse word, spat out of the mouth. Their penchant for jumbled words (Nespithe = "the spine") and absurdly elongated song titles ("The Planet that Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh that it Desired...)"). Their Finnish origin and super-spiny logo. The putrid vocal belch of Antti Boman. They clearly get/got that extreme metal can be a space of pure fantasy and wild invention.

I remember leafing through the pages of Metal Maniacs as a young death-metal head in the early ’90s, spying ads and reviews that mentioned Demilich's Nespithe album. I don't think I even sought out the music back then—I just let those weird words roll around in my brain.

A couple of years ago, I actually bothered to listen to the damn thing. I grew even more intrigued when I realized that the prize, the music itself, was as enticing as the bait had been. I now look at Nespithe as one of those great underground missing-link math-rock texts—not generically "math rock," but an embodiment of what I was getting at here. The acrobatics of RIFF. If you get into that sort of thing, you need this record in your life. Forget the death-metal trappings—or, at least, consider that there might be more to the story. Nespithe is classic subterranean prog.

Here, via Pitchfork, is my review of 20th Adversary of Emptiness, a new Demilich 3-LP/2-CD release—from Svart Records, the label behind that awesome 2013 Convulse comeback—that bookends a remastered Nespithe with the demos that preceded it and a few tracks from the band's 2006 reunion. It's so gratifying when a curio like this receives the kingly box-set treatment it deserves. Long may the Big D shred/belch.

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