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Band Reviews: Demonspeed and Tvangeste

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Hey there, it’s the Raucous Rocker. Now I know I kept talking about how I was going to review all the bands that followed me on Twitter in my last post, but after I counted them all up to see how many I was going to review, it struck me that I could be doing that for quite a while. Thus, I thought it best to get the remaining ‘non-following’ band reviews out of the way so that I don’t have to worry about them. These are two very interesting bands of different styles, both bands that I think everyone should know about before I devote myself to writing about the bands that follow me for the next few months. So here they are: Demonspeed and Tvangeste!

DEMONSPEEDDemonspeed Swing is Hell album cover

Demonspeed is an invigorating band hailing from New York which, like many bands I review, is a refreshing break from all the boring copycat bands you see today. They are similar to Danzig (mostly because of the singer’s vocal style), and their sound is a cross between thrash metal and blues with a bit of swing thrown in for good measure.

Demonspeed plays mostly heavy metal riffs with the occasional solo or bass line. Nothing special in the instrumentation with this band, although I do find its rhythm section to be pretty decent at keeping the songs moving. Occasionally you’ll get a fun riff like in “Michael Landon’s Ghost,” but otherwise the instrumentals are pretty ordinary.

The highlight of this band is without a doubt the vocals, which are good enough to give Danzig a run for his money. Demonspeed’s lead vocalist has the same powerful vocals as Danzig, and switches between a standard swing crooning style and an angry metal rasp. It’s not a growl, but if you’ve heard Danzig you’re familiar with those vocals. These two are so similar in their vocal styles that I wouldn’t be surprised if they were related. Vocals like this are just so refreshing in metal bands that I can’t help but love them. Like I said, the Demonspeed singer also has more power and tends to sing with more emotion, although sometimes he wanders around between pitches as though he’s not exactly sure what note he needs to hit, so he’ll just play around with his voice and (hopefully) keep the listener entertained until he can hit a solid note. Regardless, Demonspeed is a really fun band and you should check them out if you’re a fan of Danzig.

TVANGESTETvangeste Firestorm album cover

This band is a hidden gem if I ever saw one. Black metal bands in general are so over-the-top and so uninspiring that I find it pretty much impossible to get into the genre. But once in a while one comes along that both impresses and frightens me in a way that it is hard for me to explain. How could mere mortals come up with such a masterpiece? The only black metal band I have felt that way about is Carach Angren, but Tvangeste’s masterpiece of symphonic black metal comes pretty close!

Tvangeste has an interesting history. Originally based in Russia, Tvangeste released two albums while in Russia — one containing both an orchestra and choir that was quite fondly received by critics — before the band split up and two of the members moved to Canada, where they are currently working on a much-anticipated third album. This band really knows what they’re doing with the kind of music they are choosing to write and perform, and it shows; every song blends together harmoniously, almost seeming to merge together to form one long epic. My only complaint in this regard is that this one long epic is perhaps a little too long — even music this good can get monotonous. But enough of that, let’s talk about the actual musicianship going on in this band.

Like I said, they really know what they’re doing. While none of the metal musicians are extraordinary, they are not the focus of the album. The focus of the album is the symphonics; and no, these are not cheesy and overblown like the what Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir insert in their works so frequently. This is an actual orchestra and you can tell. (Yes, I know Cradle and Dimmu use orchestras in some of their albums too, but so often it’s just cheesy keyboards providing the symphonics.) The orchestra complements the metal and solos, in addition to being the obvious focus of the album. The metal is not very complicated and it doesn’t need to be. This was written to showcase the symphonics that this band could put together, with the orchestra to help them achieve this.

Vocally this band is not bad, but could use improvement. The standard black metal vocals in here are very strange sounding, like Dani Filth if he never screamed or had any power behind his shrieks. They do add a very creepy feel to the album overall, but sometimes it gets to the point where the vocals just sound silly, especially when the singer uses a deep clean voice which kind of sounds like he’s trying to sing while swallowing something. The choir in this album is pretty good, but downplayed and much too often shoved to the side to make room for this pretentiously over-the-top opera-esque singer, who delivers a vocal performance so overblown she makes Tarja Turunen of Nightwish sound like a fourteen-year-old girl in the back of the school chorus. Although she can hit some pretty good notes, her voice is not really pleasurable to listen to. Hopefully they will either include someone else or ask her to sing a little more quietly next album, although I’m pretty sure they left her behind in Russia.

So these are the last two bands I am going to review before I start reviewing all the bands that follow me. If I need to, I may do a few more ‘out of context’ reviews like this one while I review the bands that follow me, but I make no promises. So I hope you enjoyed this little review and join me next time! I’m the Raucous Rocker, see ya!

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