Demonical, arising from the ashes of the then-disbanded Centinex in 2006, offer up a slightly different take on the established Swe-death sound. While every band with an HM-2 pedal loves to ape Entombed and Dismember riffs, Chaos Manifesto, the act’s latest effort, finds them flourishing with a greater emphasis on melody and mood. The resulting sound bridges the gap between Entombed, Unleashed, and – most notably here – Amon Amarth. Sure, on d-beat blasters like “A Void Most Obscure” and “Torture Parade” (you can just picture the romantic lyrics), Demonical’s visceral songwriting showcases the sheer power of their metallic attack; however, songs like “Towards Greater Gods” and the six-minute, doom-inflected “From Nothing” lose no power, yet gain a sense of significance in their melodic interplay.
While very little on Chaos Manifesto is patently unique, it’s how adeptly Demonical toy with the stock Swe-death formula, knowing when to hit the gas or allow for bits of haunting melody, that makes this such a compelling listen. It certainly doesn’t hurt that this eight songs fly by, so listeners are spared any semblance of boredom before this half-hour-plus freight train completes its ride. Aside from a couple less than stellar numbers (namely the overly folk-tinged “Välkommen Undergång”), Demonical prove themselves as masters of efficient and impressive Swe-death. It’s not necessarily just putting a new coat of paint on an old (sonic) car, but Chaos Manifesto is too damn fun and expertly crafted to be considered anything other than a success.