Review 1621 : Demonstealer – The Propaganda Machine – English

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Demonstealer is resourceful.

Forerunner of Extreme Metal in India since 1998, Sahil « The Demonstealer » Makhija (vocals/guitar/composition, Solux Ex Inferis, Demonic Resurrection, ex-Reptilian Death) gradually forges himself a national, then international reputation in Death Metal. In 2023, he signed with Black Lion Records for the release of The Propaganda Machine, his fourth solo album.

The man doesn’t stay alone, and surrounds himself with famous musicians, like Hannes Grossmann (Tryptikon, ex-Obscura, ex-Necrophagist), James Payne (Kataklysm, ex-Hour of Penance, ex-Vital Remains), Ken Bedene (Aborted, ex-Abigail Williams) and Sebastian Lanser (Obsidious, ex-Obscura) on drums, Anabelle Iratni (Devilment, ex-Cradle of Filth) on keyboards, Dominic Lapointe (First Fragment, ex-Beyond Creation), Stian Gundersen (Blood Red Throne), Martino Garattoni (Ne Obliviscaris) and Kilian Duarte (Abiotic) on bass, as well as Alex Baillie (Cognizance), Dean Arnold (Primalfrost, ex-Vital Remains) and Sanjay Kumar (Wormhole, Equipoise) on guitar.

With The Fear Campaign, the first track, the musician sets the tone of a Melodic Death Metal with majestic accents that knows how to remain aggressive, mixing a formidable technicality and a raw efficiency. Massive screams join the waves of rage, sometimes leaving some parts of clean disturbing vocals to shade the heavy atmosphere while letting rage express itself, followed by an epic solo before the final which leads us to Monolith of Hate, a rather similar composition which immediately crushes us with a solid blast. The high tempo allows musicians to create a real unfathomable wall of sound letting heady airy parts lacerate us while the more melodic elements mesmerize us, letting the short The Propaganda Machine stomp us in turn with heavy riffs. The skillful mix of technicality and catchy melodies is still very effective, letting all of the man’s influences blend together before The Art of Disinformation offers more haunting tones before violence resurfaces in vocal parts as well as powerful riffs. Clean vocals fuel the seizing contrast between all the track’s elements, leading us to Screams of Those Dying, an aggressive but also very groovy track which will easily make us shake our heads. Whether some unifying clean vocals take care of the final, screams will dominate the storm, followed by The Great Dictator and its furious riffs, always accompanied by this devastating precision as well as softer and catchy ambient touches. We will also have some more quiet parts with airy Prog roots, then The Anti-National will come to strike with a jerky rhythmic coupled with sharp patterns. The majestic elements perfectly integrate the ambient aggressiveness, even strengthening some moments before Crushing the Iron Fist comes to sound the last assault with an obvious rage placed at the service of the rawest elements, but which knows how to calm down to let clean vocals and melodies punctuate the composition while remaining extremely coherent.

Demonstealer has always known how to feed a rich universe with extremely efficient sounds, but he also proves with The Propaganda Machine that he knows how to surround himself to give his compositions an incredible and devastating dynamic.


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