Demo Roundup vol. 1 (Hex Morbidity, Dragkhar, Disincarnation)

There are a handful of excellent demos that I’ve stumbled across or been directed towards recently that I want to bring to your attention as worthy of your time and support. Hex Morbidity hark back to earlier times with evocative, old-school black metal on their self-titled EP. Draghkar spew forth cavernous, morbid death-doom metal, and Disincarnation wield aggressive, surprisingly melodic death metal in the vein of At the Gates. Read on for links and more!

Hex Morbidity – “Hex Morbidity” (2016)

Hex Morbidity recorded their debut EP as a solo project from London, however they’ve since gained a full-lineup and will soon begin playing live. Their EP is a concise slab of old-school black metal that reminds me quite a bit of Emperor‘s early music, or perhaps Kvist. The guitarwork is unusually technical, but catchy and memorable. The second track “The Spirits of Aldwych” is the real highlight here, and its central riff – replete with backing synths and snarled vocals – has been stuck in my head since I first heard it. It’s an extremely catchy song drenched in Norwegian nostalgia. The eponymous closing track is filled with aggressive, melodic guitarwork and dazzling solos. Squint and some of the riffs are even reminiscent of Dissection. A very solid EP, and it will be exciting to hear what their future material sounds like with a full line-up and the impact that will have on the songwriting process and influences.

Disincarnation – “By the Old Gods and the New” (2017)

On their first demo “By the Old Gods and the New”, San Jose-based Disincarnation deliver an earth-scorching fix of grinding death metal aggression. While the production style is rough, it does the job. The whole sound has a really satisfying weight and force to it, and grounds the songs even when the melodic inclinations of the guitarists begin to dominate. The opening track in particular channels some serious ‘Slaughter of the Soul’-era At the Gates, with the crushing groove of Bolt Thrower. This blend of Gothenburg-by-way-of-Tampa guitarwork is a real delight.  The drums have punch, and the frequent blastbeats and double-bass pedals sound immensely satisfying. The closing track ‘Slime God’ features a flurry of aggressive old-school death metal riffs, rounding the demo off nicely. There are a lot of competing influences going on in the mix here, but the end the result is an incredibly solid demo.

Draghkar – “World Unraveled” (2017)

The crushing, doom-drenched old-school death metal of Draghkar‘s demo “World Unraveled” is intoxicating and intimidating. The crunchy guitar sound and cavernous production style make for an abrasive, distinctively aggressive sound. The guttural growls aren’t mixed to the foreground of the band’s sound, but this seems like a deliberate choice to place the guitars front and centre. ‘Wings Over Malkier’ kicks things off with a bang, with churning guitars and distorted riffs that remind me of “Covenant”-era Morbid Angel. The second track “Cowering in the Town of Blighted Eyes” doubles-down on the old-school riffs in the vein of Dead Congregation or Incantation for a deeply enjoyable song. The eponymous closing track assembles a vast array of thrashy death metal riffs for the listener’s enjoyment, as well as some ferocious blastbeats (courtesy of drummer A.K., also in Disincarnation) for a remorseless death metal stampede, with a surprisingly bouncy, catchy closing section. It’s an extremely solid, satisfying slab of old-school death metal that will surely please fans of old-school death metal.