Thursday, 3 October 2013

Montsegur - Under the Banner of Witchcraft (demo) [Review]

I snagged this neat little demo on a recent cold and blustery evening as I was scouring for something new on I have been on a black metal kick recently and wanted to check out some newer underground stuff to supplement my usual go-to bands.
Montsegur is a Russian band, which is about all I know about them. I haven’t delved into much BM outside of the Scandinavian countries, but this demo has me intrigued. This demo showcases tight, varied song writing and already well-developed sound for a band with only one release so far. 
The sound here is raw and aggressive, while still maintaining a good sense of melody and song writing. Violent churning riffs and blasting drums segue nicely into some epic and melodic mid-paced riffing. Clean sections are also used tastefully and accordingly to build some nice atmosphere.

The band has the repetitive/hypnotic 2nd wave sound down while still keeping it fresh with some interesting folky (real folky, no Ensiferum nonsense going on) elements in the melodies, and there are a lot of riffs packed into each song! There are some cool sound effects too, such as the horn and sounds of battle in the title track. I’m usually not too fond of such things, but here they don’t detract from the song.
The guitar sound is a bit washy, but the riffs shine through nicely. The bass is very prominent, but not overpowering in the mix. The drummer is tasteful and competent, accenting the riffs nicely. The vocals are somewhat standard, but they definitely sound good and fit with the music and the mix. The sound is most certainly demo quality, but shockingly well done, as is the performance, considering this was recorded as a rehearsal! The stick clicks to count in the songs could have been edited out, but that is a very minor complaint.

The demo is bookended by an intro and outro track, which are well done, but I rarely find such things to be necessary. However, they are concise and fit with the overall mood of the demo.

Overall, this is a great piece of work and I would love to hear what this band could do with a full-length release. I’m glad I stumbled upon this and I recommend giving it a listen:

Tex's rating: 84%

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