Album Title: Beneath the Horizon
This is the first demo from Archaicus, an English black metal band.
The vocals here are wonderfully strange. They vary from weird groaning parts to whispers, growls, grunts, and howls. The guitar work is great, alternating between droning parts and chunky early-Darkthrone style riffs. When the drums are blasting, there's a typewriter edge to them that is a bit distracting. I like the cymbal work, though. This band employs plenty of floating synth, especially during the slow sections.
"Escaping Deterioration of this Earth" alternates between atmospheric passages, blasting parts, and mid-paced headbanging riffage. The abrupt transitions between them work very well for this sort of music. The end of this track is bombastic as hell! I love it.
"Over the Hills and Beneath the Horizon" starts out with some horror-movie synth and distant guitar. Once the song starts in earnest, it's a second-wave black metal stomper -- or is it? There are a couple of acoustic breaks here that come out of nowhere and disappear just as quick. The effect is highly unsettling.
"Cold Winds of the Lamented Valley" combines start-and-stop blast parts with some off-kilter slow parts. The acoustic guitar during this song is excellent. I like the croaking vocals as well. The ending is the best part.
The production on "The Vast Flame" is filthy and thick with reverb. I think it sounds much better than the rest of the album! The eerie synth, slow pace, and growled vocals set up a funeral atmosphere. Maybe it's just the production on this track, but it seems to me that this band's mid-paced stuff is much more interesting than their blasting parts...
Every time I started to get tired of what Archaicus was doing, they'd stop abruptly and do something else entirely. There's something to be said for that, and you can't go wrong with a demo this varied! Recommended.
Standout Tracks: "Escaping the Deterioration of this Earth", "The Vast Flame"