Review: “Mass // Minus” by Deem Index

Forming in 2005 and settling on their current line-up in 2011, Arnhem Netherlands based Deem Index specialize in a blend of “Gothenburg” style Melodic Death, Thrash and Old and New School Metal. Or as they like to call it: Metal, nothing more, nothing less”. Known for their raw musical power with poetic lyrics, they dropped their debut “Vain // Void” in July 2014, so it’s been a little while between releases. What’s changed? Scale of Content” starts off with some sci-fi synth sounds before building into its Melodic Death Metal riffs and throat shredding vocals from Ronald Stempyn. Very much an old school track in the classical sense, all the songs touch on subject matter like personal state of mind and relationship issues but avoiding the trappings of the “Nu” tag. “Monologue About Violets” is a harder hitting track with some lead work that you’d see in 2003 era Metalcore, which rose to prominence from the Gothenburg sound. Guitarists Lars van Bergen and Jelmer Bronsdijk (ex-Inquisition) do a sterling job and if you’re a fan of the style that the likes of At The Gates created and was present in that early All That Remains sound, then you’re going to find much to appreciate here.

Solo” has some similar rise and fall guitar patterns that will have familiarity to most Metal Heads. Not that it sounds generic, just that the chosen guitar tone is one commonly used. A mid song Kraftwerk synth pop moment brings in the second half of the song and splits it clean in two leaving no entrails before return to it for the closing moments. It seems slightly out of place on first listen but will catch you on the end.Returning to their core sound with “Vortex In Slow Motion” which has a high tempo gallop and is reminiscent of “Of Love And Lunacy” material by Still Remains, it fires up the engines and delivers in classics style, especially with a couple of slick solo moments. It helps having a drummer of vast experience and in Elwin Molenaar who has appeared in Crucified Corpse, Arms of Valour, Her Enchantment, Eyepatch and Thronar at various points in time, they have the perfect foil for their guitar sound. Taking a melancholic approach to the introduction of “Three Stones Black” before diving into some brutal throat shredding unclean vocals, this longer cut has a greater meaning lyrically based upon the stand out vocal performance. Closer “Halo” throws some blast beats into the mix while avoiding the temptation to drop into “Unholy Confessions” by Avenged Sevenfold with some of its chord progressions, which go close in places but thankfully cut their own path. That means you have something that is familiar enough to headbang to at the first time of listening while not also having a life of its own. “Mass // Minus” is a fun nostalgic trip down the yellow brick road of memory lane and you’ll love it for that [7/10]

Track listing

  1. Scale of Content
  2. Monologue About Violets
  3. Solo
  4. Vortex In Slow Motion
  5. Three Stones Black
  6. Halo

Mass // Minus” by Deem Index is out 11th March and should be available via bandcamp

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