Review: “And This Too Shall Pass” by Demonstealer

It has been 2 years since 2018’s “The Last Reptilian Warrior” from Mumbai-based Death Metal multi-instrumentalist, Sahil Makhija aka Demonstealer graced us with its presence and after a successful crowd funding campaign in August, the result is “And This Too Shall Pass”, inspired by the great plague of 2020. An extreme music veteran and a corners stone of the Indian Metal scene, Makhija was a founding member of Demonic Resurrection while also starting an independent record label which has released material from the likes of Behemoth and Dimmu Borgir in a corner of the Globe which has never witnessed such sounds as well as setting up Hertz Studio (Behemoth,  DecapitatedVader) dedicated to Extreme Metal. “The Last Reptilian Warrior” saw collaborations with Kévin Paradis of Benighted and Svart Crown, Romain Goulon of Necrophagist, Kerim Lechner of Septic Flesh and Decapitated and David Diepold now of Obscura; “And This Too Shall Pass” sees him returning to his roots as a solo multi instrumentalist, something Makhija hasn’t done since his debut solo record “…and Chaos Will Reign…” in 2008. Indeed the only contribution to have been made from outside is the cover artwork provided by Indonesian artist Adi Dechristianize (Embalmer, Disgorge)…

…Sometimes it is incredibly easy to spot the weakness in a multi instrumentalists armor because while someone can play multiple instruments, it isn’t a given that they can play all of them do the same level. There are however certain individuals like Josh Dummer of Buried Realm or Harvey Lake of Ruina who defy the odds and are capable of performing all instruments to a very high standard indeed. Sahil Makhija is very much one of these people, in a category of individual who has reached a higher plane of existence where anything they touch turns to Gold. From the moment the onslaught of “This Crumbling Earth” comes pummeling through with a traditional Death Metal battery augmented by an early In Flames esq chorus moment of Melodic Death Metal power, that much is clear. Where the previous guests gave him something unique and perhaps turned a few heads and opened a few eyes to his work that were not there before, “And This Too Shall Pass” proves that Makhija doesn’t need the guests as a crutch to prop him up; he has all he needs within his hands and uses his talent to great effect. His vocal range is impressive, the transition between the vocal styles is perfectly balanced and there is no let up in pace or loss of energy or atmosphere for those clean moments. “A Festering Wound” continues the driven nature of the material with a blisteringly high tempo maintained throughout, the title being a metaphorical one for a broken relationship as Makhija roars “I have not forgiven you!” with all his might. More obviously “Systemic Failure” is a socially and politically aware depiction which cries for the creation of a new World in which we can all succeed. Early 2000’s Metalcore touches with some classic leads and intertwining clean and unclean vocal moments linger in the background of this one, giving it a lift from the low end rumble of Gene Hoglan esq drumming and a blistering galloped style. The melodic introduction to “From Flesh To Ashes” has overtones of Doom Metal before upping the tempo with some Black Metal inspired drumming. The track is an interesting one as it doesn’t burst into the expected flames of full on Death Metal, instead treading a delicate path of understated clean vocals throughout with intricate leads that impress, along similar lines to “From Rubble to Ruin” from his 2016 “The Burden Is Mine” album. A tour de force from a powerful player, this is an EP that you just want to listen to again and again [8/10]

Track listing

1. This Crumbling Earth
2. A Festering Wound
3. Systemic Failure
4. From Flesh To Ashes

“And This Too Shall Pass”  by Demonstealer is out 11th December 2020 with pre-orders available here.

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