"Babies can't walk because their legs aren't long enough to
reach the ground."
THE DEMO DEPARTMENT
by Richard Karsmakers
Most bands start out doing demo tapes that they send around to
magazines and offer for sale to people who like what's on them.
As an ever decreasing amount of financial resources has forced me
to curtail my expenses in the music department, I haven't bought
many CDs recently. Instead I'm extending my senses into this
world of demo tapes - a place where you can get some amazingly
brilliant music if only you're lucky enough. There's a multi-
faceted world of talent making demo tapes that typically set you
back something like 5 to 7 US dollars for 20-30 minutes of music
recorded in 2 days and mixed in another. And some of it is pretty
ANCIENT SLUMBER - ABANDON YOUR VOLTAIRE GARDEN
Ancient Slumber's "Abandon Your Voltaire Garden" is their third
demo already, after "Deranged" and "Burn thy Map of Your Life".
They consist of five members, they're Swedish and they arose from
some deep dark cesspit in March 1992.
Ancient Slumber can't easily be compared with any other band.
Their lyrics are about subjects that are unusual to say the least
(what about a line "free, free, free - like a banana released
from its skin" and song titles like "A Month of Abacadabra" and
"Crucifiction Behind the Green Door of the Face of Man"?). The
songs seem to capture the band's mottos: "Exhort people to revolt
against what is wrong, and yawn when we are bored". The music,
however, is more interesting than the lyrics I think. These guys
aren't afraid to throw in a few experimental passages into their
songs, and it shows that they're certainly capable wielders of
their instruments. The singer sounds a bit mainstream sometimes,
but I guess that might be a compliment as to his actual vocal
Production is excellent, especially with the guitars sounding as
if they want to lodge something heavy straight between your eyes
and the drums sounding crisp yet massive. It runs for 18 unusual
(and somewhat short) minutes, and can be yours for US$ 7 at
Ancient Slumber, c/o Torbjorn Hallgren, Juteskarg 64, S-421 59 V
ATER - ORS
In the summer of 1991 some guys in Finland decided to bring
nearer the utter downfall of the world and formed the band Ater.
In 1992 their music got onto a demo tape for the first time, "The
Black Abyss" containing four tracks, intro inclusive. Their
second demo, "Ors", was released a year later. After the intro,
"Alone in the Dark", the demo bursts forth with a deafening
grunt. The dreadedly dark doom never leaves the listener,
sometimes reinforced by good use of choral-sounding synth parts.
Ater isn't the most modest of bands, and for all I care they
don't need to be. With clear influences audible from a variety of
death metal and gothic bands, Ater has produced an interesting
blend that even boasts acoustic guitar wedged between the wall of
atmospheric doom that doesn't relent for the half hour the demo
No lyrics included, unfortunately, but the demo is as capably
produced as most others these days and is available at US$ 6 from
Ater, c/o Marko Hautamaki, Valitie 6 A 4, 61100 Peraseinajoki,
Finland. The debut demo (which they no longer sell themselves due
to it not being good enough) is still available at US$ 5 or from
Tombstone Records, c/o Mark Gray, 95 Hexham Avenue, Hebburn, Tyne
& Wear NE31 2DL, United Kingdom.
BLOODLUST - HIDEOUS...
From Poland comes "Bloodlust", who have produced a most
excellently produced demo called "Hideous...". The tape artwork
looks shit (yeah, the s-word!) but that epitaph doesn't apply to
the music contained on it at all. Where most demos I've come
across this time were excellently produced, this one even seems
better, even though I think the drums could easily have been
turned up a bit louder in the mix. Having said that, what we're
dealing with here is a band very much in the vein of Morbid Angel
with a singer sounding like Dave Vincent, or at least to me it
seemed like that. I would hasten to add, however, that they don't
mimic Morbid Angel as such. The 25 minutes of 7 tracks divided
across both sides don't have a lack of originality. Technically
they're certainly capable, although I think the guitar solos
sound a bit messy (hey, I'm used to true guitar wizards,
This commercially produced demo (with colour artwork even) is
available for US$ 6 from Loud Out Records, Ul. Zielna 45/30, 00-
108 Warszawa, Polen. I think Sweden will have to watch out for
Poland! One of these days the Poles will start burning down
EXCISION - THE DROWNING TEAR
Most of the demos I've received/bought recently have been
produced excellently. It's just as if you're listening to a
commercial CD, albeit a somewhat short one. Excision's "The
Drowning Tear" is again most splendidly produced, also with
professional-looking packaging. It makes one wonder where these
guys get all the money to invest in this sort of thing!
Excision most rightly got the headline position at this year's
"Festacle" (see concert review elsewhere). This death metal band
(although their lyrics seem not to be about the usual death
metal topics at all) has recorded a most excellent follow-up to
their no longer available debut demo. As a matter of fact, "The
Drowning Tear" was "demo of the month" in the January or February
issue of the Dutch "Aardschok" (the best Dutch metal magazine).
Excision does dynamic music that you can't sit still on. It
subconsciously causes you to thrash around and bang your head
like a maniac. Their drummer is one of the best I've heard yet on
a demo, who excells for most of the 24 minutes the demo takes.
Added to that, they have even employed a female vocalist for the
necessary and oh-so-beautiful contrast. "The Drowning Tear" is
one of my favourite demos at the moment.
This is one band that certainly deserves a record deal, and I
doubt they'll be around without it much longer. If you want to
have a taste of their music, order "The Drowning Tear" for Hfl
15,- at Excision, c/o Paul Verhagen, Vlassert 70, NL-5541 VH,
INQUISITOR - YOUR PAIN WILL BE EXQUISITE
Inquisitor, a Dutch thrash metal band, have already released two
demos prior to "Your Pain will be Exquisite", one of these being
a live one. Those demos were already pretty excellent, showcasing
amazing speed, high technical craftsmanship and a singer that can
really cry his lungs out. "Your Pain will be Exquisite" is very
much in the same vein as their debut, "Blasphemous Accusations".
It's still lightning fast; as a matter of fact if I hadn't seen
them do this stuff at that speed live myself I would easily have
been led to believe they artificially increase the music speed
Inquisitor isn't just fast, however. Compositions sound great
and they've got something to say, too - their lyrics are all
about religious affairs and the way the church has abused (and
probably still abuses) its powers. Song titles like "Jehova's
Downfall", "Condemned Saints" and "Consuming Christ" tend to say
more than a thousand words.
Inquisitor is a promising band which may just succeed in making
it big some day soon. If you like extreme thrash with a voice
that may perhaps take some getting used to, you'll definitely
want to get this demo.
The demo costs a mere Hfl 10,- or US$ 6 at Erik Sprooten,
Mandenmakerstraat 79, NL-3841 VD, Harderwijk, Netherlands. Their
debut demo is still for sale at the same price, and perhaps you'd
also care to order a "Cry of the Christians" T-shirt (L or XL) at
Hfl 25,- or US$ 15 (which is reckoned to be 'very blasphemous').
You get a free sticker with each item.
MALICIOUS OBSCURITY - ENTREE GATE
Malicious Obscurity is a Dutch death metal band that recently
released their debut demo, "Entree Gate". On this demo you will
find four tracks (each side featuring the whole 23-minute set) of
down-to-earth but nonetheless enjoyable death metal. I don't
think anyone will ever claim that Malicious Obscurity is yet very
innovative or anything, but what they do is great listening,
especially at louder volume. On top of that the demo is well-
produced and it looks semi-professional too.
If you want to get the demo, send Hfl 15,- to Malicious
Obscurity Management, c/o Robert Gangelhof, Nijenheim 45-19, NL-
3704 SM, Zeist, Netherlands. I've seen them play live once, too,
an experience as enjoyable as the demo.
DO YOU WANT YOUR DEMO REVIEWED HERE? Send it to the ST NEWS
correspondence address, and please include details on where
people can get it and how much they would then need to pay!
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.