Posts Tagged ‘Demon Solar Totem’

Svart Records – 15th November 2019

Christopher Nosnibr

It’s the Christmas lull and having just pulled together a review of the year, I realise I’ve still got months of catching up to do, with stacks of releases by acts I genuinely like that I’ve yet to get around to listening to lurking in my inbox and download folder.

For those needing to catch up: ‘The Deathtrip began around 2003 by UK-based guitarist/composer Host, with a view to create some cold black metal tracks, evoking a feeling beyond what was generally circulating in the scene at the time. Very much a DIY project, the initial recordings consisted of songs featuring raw yet distinctive riffing over intentionally stripped down, repetitive and simplified programmed drums, combined with a raw-as-can-be ‘production’. The aim was for something hypnotic & primitive, achieved by using repetitive structures and multi-layered guitar parts’.

Like so many acts over the last decade, I first discovered The Deathtrip when I received an album for review – in this instance, 2014’s Deep Drone Master. On the one hand, it struck me as a quintessential black metal album; on the other, it was a damn good example of a black metal album that stood up alongside the greats.

The same is true of Demon Solar Totem. It’s dark, dense, demonic. The production is ultra-murky and appropriately lo-fi, adhering to the DIY aesthetic and the principles of a scene so underground and to be ploughing a passage though molten magma: the drums are a blurred blizzard of blasting beats. The snare is practically absent amidst crashing cymbals and hundred-and-fifty mile per hour bass beats.

The title track commences proceedings with eight minutes of grandiose black metal steeped in ceremonialism. It’s punishing and furious and dark and highly theatrical, and monastic voices rise in sepulchral echoes as the guitars fade in a long afterburn. And everything burns: it’s a nonstop blast of furnace-like heat belched from the bowels of hell. Every note, every guttural utterance, is twisted and tarred. It’s relentless and savage. ‘Vintage Telepathy’ hammers a sludgy trudge, and powers onwards to the megalithic dirge that is the final track, the nine-minute ‘A New Awakener’.

There is nothing kind or accessible about Demon Solar Totemi: it’s unremittingly punishing. And that’s precisely why it works.