Dementor - _God Defamer_
(Osmose Productions, 2004)
by: Jackie Smit (7 out of 10)
I recently shared in a very interesting conversation with one of my fellow CoCers regarding the state of death metal in the midst of the genre's current resurgence. My colleague pointed to the fact that in recent times the bar has been raised by bands like Nile and Cryptopsy to such an extent that it is growing increasingly challenging for other bands to break out and be noticed without resorting to the most OTT brutality or off-beat experimentation.

In hindsight, the man definitely had a point. Death metal as we know it right now may be in a similarly booming state as that of the glorious early Nineties, but in terms of what passes for good, the style has evolved into an altogether more complex beast. The days where a band could rightly be hailed for their unique production or superior technicality have largely disappeared. In fact, I can hardly remember the last death metal album to pass my ears that did not at least sound mildly impressive on both those counts. Then of course there's the question of actual songs. Again, this throws up a number of arguments. Should a band constantly strive to innovate, or do they aim to, in the words of Alex Webster, "always be heavier and faster"? At what point does the preoccupation with innovation become counter-productive?

This brings me to Dementor's latest effort. Every one of the album's nine tracks provides a technically superb flurry of death metal that follows the same violent path as Krisiun and Rebaelliun in a most convincing manner. Likewise, Andy Claasen's work from behind the mixing desk is crushing, easily outdoing recent efforts by Hate Eternal et al for sheer, bludgeoning impact. But for all its merits, _God Defamer_ is unable to catapult itself into the realm of essential listening, simply because it does absolutely nothing that we haven't heard many times before. A good, possibly even great death metal album, yes -- but ultimately no one would be missing out on anything pivotal if they chose to ignore this record. Which in turn, boils things down to a question of how selective one chooses to be -- if death metal is your reason for waking up in the morning, then Dementor is a must-have. If, however, you have bought less than five death metal records in the past year, then chances are that this is not going to do much for you.


(article published 11/8/2004)

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