Demonstealer is better known as being the brains behind India’s most famous death metal squadron Demonic Resurrection, but he has recruited the legendary George Kollias to help turn his debut solo record into one of 2016’s most mind blowingly expansive, heavy and essential albums. Melding death, thrash and loads of melody, ‘This Burden is Mine’ is a tour de force of modern extremity.
It begins with ‘How the Mighty Has Fallen’, rising from the abyss with deathly voice and precision assault. But this is no simple death metal song with great melodies and insidious hooks. It is possessed of a glorious clean section that fits the piece so perfectly, you’ll be amazed that it is the same man behind those clean vox and the hellish growls that are everywhere else on this record. In fact, it is this judicious use of the clean vocals, with the sleek guitar melodies, that raise ‘This Burden is Mine’ towards a higher plain. There’s a little bit of David Gold about his harmonies that really gets me.
Only one song falls beneath the five minute mark, and the record is nearly an hour of well crafted extreme metal that takes on all forms. Like a chameleon changing its colour, so does Demonstealer and this record. Kollias puts in a star performance, underpinning each song with whatever suits that particular moment. It isn’t all double kick mayhem or blasting carnage, although that certainly comes into play in places. There is epic grandeur, raging thrash and punishing death, but mostly there is just pure fucking metal.
This is a record that, while more clean and melodic than Demonic Resurrection stuff, will still appeal to those fans, even if just curiosity. You’ll find an album that is evocative (‘This Burden is Mine’), irresistably melodic (‘Frail Fallible’) and in parts heavy as fuck (‘The Failures of Man’). It may be a little sleek for fans of his main bands, but Demonstealer has laid down one of 2016’s most adventurous and brave records.