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Review: Demigod - Shadow Mechanics
Demigod
Shadow Mechanics

Label: Svart Records
Year released: 2020
Originally released in: 2002
Duration: 44:58
Tracks: 11
Genre: Death/Thrash

Rating: 4.5/5

Review online: August 15, 2021
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers Rating
for:
Shadow Mechanics

Rated 4.67/5 (93.33%) (3 Votes)
Review

After Demigod released their legendary debut Slumber of the Sullen Eyes, it would take them 10 years to release a follow-up, in no small part due to vocalist/guitarist Esa Lindén leaving the band in 1994 and a 3-year period of inactivity afterwards. With that big gap in activity and losing a pivotal songwriter, it's not too surprising that their sophomore album, Shadow Mechanics, showed the band working in a drastically different sound, one that led most fans to revile this album when it came out. I was in the minority in thinking this album was an excellent return in spite of the differences, and even 18 years later, I stand by that.

Shadow Mechanics sees the band leaning way more into technical, borderline progressive Thrash with Death Metal influences, very much a far cry from the neck-snapping Death Metal of their debut. Many took exception to that, but considering how Esa had a hand in some of the songwriting, I'd say it's an admirable attempt from the band to do more than just rest on their laurels and do something different as they sharpened and refined their songwriting over the years. This makes for a far more varied and melodic album overall, complete with top-notch musicianship and some killer vocals from Ali Leiniö and Tuomas Ala-Nissilä, who both stepped up to do main vocals on the album. You still get some more direct songs like the face-ripping "Gates of Lamentation" and the show-stopping album closer "Where the Shadows Clash", but most of the album is made up of more experimental songs like the dramatic, melancholic "Crimson Tears" with its doomy approach and clean singing courtesy of Mika Haapasalo and the spine-chilling "Silent with Earth", which stands as the most ambitious song they ever wrote.

This will never get the love or even basic respect of the debut, but I honestly believe Shadow Mechanics absolutely deserves it. It's not Slumber of the Sullen Eyes, but it is a perfect example of blending Death and Thrash together to make a complex and aggressive sound that deserves your time and attention. An underrated gem.

Other related information on the site
Review: Let Chaos Prevail (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Slumber of Sullen Eyes (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Interview with vocalist Esa Lindén and bassist Sami Vesanto on June 23, 2012 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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