Before the Swedish death metal branched out and formed the Gothenburg sound, it was only known for its buzzsaw guitar sound tearing through the tracks with a hint melody sprinkled over them. Bands like Dismember and Entombed had an influential set of releases in the very early 90s. One of the albums that can be considered a classic for this particular sound (plus a little more) was ‘Malleus Maleficarum’ by the band Centinex, whose members are also part of Demonical. Demonical does not stray far away from the Swedish death metal sound, although being a newer band would mean that the production sees some change.
‘Chaos Manifesto’ is definitely a melodic death metal album, but not like the Gothenburg metal bands who overdo the melody by compromising on the death metal riffs and the heaviness of the early Swedeath sound. I also noticed a few melodies in there that almost sound anthemic, dare I say, an Amon Amarth like twist, which seems to work well with the epic nature of the guitar solos. The songwriting is noteworthy – the way the riffs are connected to each other and flow into one another stood out to me the most. The track placements are also spot on; maybe a bit formulaic, but definitely works. The vocals are fantastic, and suits all of the different variety of tracks present on the album.
There are several stand-out tracks on the record. “A Void Most Obscure”, “Sung to Possess” and “Unfold Thy Darkness” are the heavier, more sinister tracks that derives from the old school Swedeath sound along with the riff-style of Bloodbath, and none like the other. They are strategically dispersed throughout the album so as to create an engaging mix of the several styles incorporated here. “Towards Greater Gods”, “Välkommen Undergång” and “Death Unfaithful” are the Viking influenced anthemic tracks that are very reminiscent of early Amon Amarth. “Torture Parade” and “From Nothing” tend more towards the melodicity of early In Flames (when they could still write good music). “From Nothing” is the closest to the typical melodeath style this album has been at, and unsurprisingly it is one of the tracks that didn’t catch my fancy.
‘Chaos Manifesto’ is the complete palette of the Swedish death metal sound – from the old school buzzing guitars, to the standard melodeath tracks, and to the epic roaring battle marching sounding tracks. There’s nothing out of the ordinary or path-breaking here, just the collection of classic styles of the genre knit together to form an enjoyable and surprisingly cohesive 36 minutes. This album is recommended to fans of all the aforementioned bands.