Demontage – The Principal Extinction
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The first page of The Principal Extinction‘s (Shadow Kingdom, 2010) booklet is a wreck. Crows peck at an interstate pileup, with nothing but forsaken landscapes ahead. Humankind is going out of style, and Demontage scavenge the wreckage for booze. Nostalgia is pointless. The liner notes paraphrase Ecclesiastes and Amebix — “drink and be merry… for tomorrow, the Holocene may die.”
As their name implies, Demontage have an eclectic sound. At times, they’re classic metal, while at others they resemble black thrash or melodic death. They don’t achieve this by jumping between genres, but by taking a Brocas Helm base and unlocking it with a little crust. It’s not unlike adding a splash of water to good hooch, where cutting down harsh flavors reveals a more diverse palette. Here, a splash of harshness reveals how the diversity of metal has always been present, even in the oldest stuff.
The results fit no subgenre. Spantilomantis’ voice bellows and cracks, while the instrumentation threatens to smash itself to pieces but always holds together. “Malignant Paradigm” starts with an ominous synth, then launches gradually intensifying hit-and-run attacks. Anxiety builds. Spantilomantis foretells your doom and punctuates it with a belly laugh: “You’ll submit everything to me, real and imagined, upon entry to the kingdom of the dead (ha! ha!).” Other tracks come closer to straightforward rocking, but feel equally ramshackle. “Entourage of Demon Dances” gallops like a deformed Motörhead, hammers into its conclusion, and explodes. The lyrics tell you that everything is fucked, and make you feel glad about it: “Feed the flames of gluttony, and jealousy and rage… / We capture human feelings, and throw them in the fire.”
The Principal Extinction is music that knows history well enough to rework it. Doing so makes the familiar abrasive and strange again. The world is often split between kowtowing to classics and diluting them with modernity. Refreshingly, Demontage refuse to do either.
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