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Album Review: Daemoniac – Dwellers of Apocalypse

Remember, when I reviewed Vastum a few months ago because, in my excitement, I had mixed up Vastum and Venenum and thought I was getting something totally different? Yeah, same thing here. Turns out Daemoniac and Demonical are different bands. My first clue should’ve been that the band pic on the Metal Archives is a dead giveaway that Daemoniac is Italian instead of Swedish, since nobody is blond and the dude on the left has fabulous hair, but hey, here we are.

This could easily pass as a Demonical release anyway since they’re one of the best Swedeath worship bands on the market right now, and while Daemoniac is certainly far less spectacular, they do mine the same vein pretty fuckin’ shamelessly. Yeah, these guys are obviously preeeeetty big fans of the Swedish classics, since everything from the aesthetics, to the riffing style, to the guitar tone is a 1:1 perfect replica of what Entombed made popular a few decades ago. Hell, they even went so far as to travel to Sunlight Studios to make sure of it. That mega beefy HM-2 distortion that everybody calls the “buzzsaw tone” for some reason is on prominent display on Dwellers of Apocalypse. I don’t think there’s even a point going too in-depth here since it’s so shallow on its own. Have you heard Carnage? Vomitory? Unleashed? Then you know what you’re getting – lots of uptempo drumming and tremolo riffs and deep roaring vocals and blasphemous lyrics. That’s it; what the hell else do you want me to say?

If you can’t tell, my main beef with this album is simply that it’s as surface level as you can get. Dwellers of Apocalypse is a hollow recreation of a classic scene that does nothing to justify its existence. And that’s not to say that shameless worship can’t produce great music! Monasterium just rips off Candlemass as hard as possible, and they fucking rule. And hell, the entire reason I nabbed this promo from the stack is because I thought they were a different band that I love that also recreates the Swedeath classics with no new ideas. The difference between Daemoniac and Demonical, apart from two letters, is that the latter has a hell of a lot more pumping adrenaline in their music, and their songwriting is incredibly strong. They sound like a lost relic from a vaunted age, while this sounds like a cheap knockoff found at a discount haberdashery.  

Dwellers of Apocalypse is honestly fine on the whole, and if you’re a Swedeath freak, you’ll find plenty to like. But, after a few full spins, all I can really say that sticks out at all is a brutal main riff in “Rebellion” and the punishing grooves in “Disciples of the Black Arts.” Otherwise, the whole damn thing is pretty one dimensional and doesn’t make any real effort to stand out from the pack. Maybe I’m being unfair, but when I’m listening to Lik or Feral or something, my main thought isn’t “Man I could just be listening to Dismember instead” like it is with Daemoniac.

Dwellers of Apocalypse was released on December 19th, 2019 via Xtreem Music and can be found on the band’s Bandcamp.

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