Daemonheim- Tidian

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Thursday, May 29, 2014

Germany’s Daemonheim has been active since 1999, but it has been over seven years since their last full length Hexentanz. The duo has spent plenty of time working on follow-up Tidian, which will be released via Naturmacht Productions in a few days. Over the years I’ve noticed that compared to black metal from other countries, Germany has a higher percentage of bands that think outside the box and incorporate a wide range of influences and Daemonheim fits this description quite well. Although there are moments on Tidian that showcase some of the traditional black metal elements, the group never stays in one place for too long and showcased a good deal of pagan metal and melodic death metal influence that takes their sound in a different direction.

This duo is certainly not lacking in ambition, as Tidian runs for close to 48 minutes and starts off with a nine and a half minute song. As you might expect from a band that writes slightly longer tracks, there are plenty of twists and turns on each one and it feels like they are changing stylistic elements on a regular basis to balance intensity and atmosphere. Admittedly the first track is the piece on the album I like the least, as during the nine and a half minutes there are some sections where the transition from one element to the next felt a bit too abrupt and slightly jarring. But as I made my way through the remaining seven songs the overall flow seemed to improve and the elements that Daemonheim weaved together continually caught my attention. What makes this release so enjoyable to listen to is the way that it merges so many different metal styles together while continuing to build intensity and atmosphere. The primary elements of this album are traditional black metal and melodic death metal with a good deal of pagan and European folk influence, but the way that the band is able to incorporate all of these influences comes off sounding different than one might expect and it makes a significant difference.

While the instrumental work branches off in many different directions, the vocal work is where listeners are going to notice the most prominent black metal influences. Singer/guitarist Carcharoth’s primary style is a higher scream/shriek that’s very close to the familiar genre style, and it adds that extra bite to the material that contrasts nicely with the melodic guitar work. Although the scream/shriek is the most dominant style on the recording it isn’t the only pitch that Daemonheim is able to utilize, as some much lower growls are added in as back up at key moments and there are a few sections where some clean vocals are added in as well. Ultimately the performance is able to add that extra level of abrasiveness to the material, and it maintains enough variation in order to avoid becoming repetitive.

Tidian is an interesting release, as it combines familiar elements from a wide range of metal genres but manages to have a feel of its own. Daemonheim is at their best when they merge icier black metal and soaring melodic death metal with mellower folk/pagan sections, and even though there are a few sections where the transitions aren’t as natural as they could be this is still an impressive effort overall. It isn’t quite one of my favorites of the year, but remains an album with enough variation and standout moments to be worth returning to in the coming months.


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