Review: “The Propaganda Machine” by Demonstealer

When the call of Demonstealer echoes on the breeze resistance to join his army of guest musicians on another rampage to the gates of hell and back is seemingly futile. Following the success of his last record under the moniker “The Holocene Termination“, Demonic Resurrection frontman and guitarist Sahil Makhija has once again assembled an army of musicians from all corners of the World, renowned for their abilities in different subgenres of Death Metal including the technical, blackened, symphonic and groove orientations, for “The Propaganda Machine“. No less than 3x guitarists, 4x drummers and 4x bassists as well as Orchestrations and Keys from Anabelle Iratni (Veile, ex Cradle Of Filth) are to be found throughout and while accompanied by cover artwork from Daemorph Art, the album was mixed and mastered at his regular haunt in Hertz Studio in Poland (Decapitated, Hour Of Penance, Vader, Behemoth)…

When it comes to all guest affairs, Demonstealer is a proven master at getting his vision across while allowing the musicians to do their own thing so with a record like this you get the trademark Demonstealer sound with all of its hallmarks… and yet fresh ideas and inspirations from the guests. A highly anticipated affair to say the least, not only because the array of guests but also because of the presence ofAnabelle Iratni (Veile, ex Cradle Of Filth) throughout, which has captured the imagination in the sense that this offering may be in a similar vein to current works by Shadow Of Intent. The artery is opened with “The Fear Campaign“, Grossmann delivering a wealth of machine gun fire like percussive battery with haunting keys from Iratni creating a dark and swirling atmospheric. The vocals are quite literally demonic for the opening verse, however a cleaner vocal line may catch you off guard as a fleeting chink of light is extinguished from the black cloud filled skies above. Primalfrost guitarist Dean Paul Arnold gives us a couple of sublime technical and intricate solos that build on the force of the track like a wrathful God throwing lightening bolts down the ear canals and raising the hairs on the back of the neck. The power is immense, the sense of epic grandeur monumental as a tidal wave of Symphonic Technical Death Metal destroys everything in its path. The plague of pestilence continues to climb with “Monolith Of Hate“, the four winds filled with armies of locust as Demonstealer’s black thoughts spill from his mind like an ink blot on the page. Melodies from clean vocals offer an new blade with which to sever flesh from bone and layered in to give the sense of a pair of vocalist instead of just one gives a split personality edge which works incredibly well.

The title track on an album is always one that as a listener you want to be the finest point and it has to be said that “The Propaganda Machine” is not only a powerhouse cut but a tour de force of what Demonstealer has been conjuring throughout his career to this point. A punishment beating for the weak, it’s a statement piece of politically and socially aware rhetoric that speaks a truth that people just don’t want to wake up and smell the coffee of – the scream of “the consequence of War is only suffering!” one that really hits home. Orchestration adds a mournful quality to the opening moments of “The Art of Disinformation” before the tornado begins to take shape once more, tearing through the ear drums with Demonstealer himself bringing some solid groove laden riffs designed for the headbanging. A thinking mans record, after the unadulterated pleasure of the music dies down, the lyric sheet is one that you’ll want to investigate with a monocle should you be so inclined. Alex Baillie of Cognizance fame delivers a face melting solo on this one that is sheer class and is perfectly in keeping with the quality of the others, making this one in particular not one to be missed. “Screams of Those Dying” is not simply a bludgeoning force but one with clever nuances which rise from the black depths over multiple listens, the speed of the juggernaut on this pedal to the metal affair meaning that the brain simply can not take it all in at once. If anything it reaffirms the fact that Demonstealer is an underrated guitarist as he fires off high class Death Metal riffs in all directions, the intelligence of his lyrics confirming why everyone is so keen to work with him.

James Payne’s kit work on “The Great Dictator” is immense as alongside Martino Garattoni he creates the backbone upon which Demonstealer builds the mountain once more, the onslaught making for an unstoppable tsunami and creating a stand out among stand outs. Restless and relentless nature of the beast is perfectly counterbalanced on the scales of justice by the rich and diverse melodies of the synths and the clean vocal parts so you have a sublime contrast between the rip roaring Death Metal anarchy and the richness and warmth. On paper those two extremes shouldn’t live together but here they do so against all the odds, proving that a master is capable of creating the seemingly impossible. “The Anti-National” smashes the clock in fear, another driven rampage that plays out like The Raid with Demonstealer and his accompanying musicians fighting their way through the enemies to get their points across. The orchestration is borders on the cinematic from Iratni as everything she touches on the album turns to gold and this cut is no exception. God only knows why she departed Cradle Of Filth but on this evidence it seems like a huge mistake to set her free. Sanjay Kumar creates the spark which ignites the flames from Demonstealer’s Dragon like nostrils on the powerhouse curtain dropping cut that is “Crushing the Iron Fist“, a whirlwind of percussive battery from Ken Bedene ensuring the album ends with a fittingly deadly cut. Thoughtful and brutal, rich and diverse this new sacrifice to the Death Metal Gods from Demonstealer is nothing short of a masterpiece [9/10]

Track Listing

1. The Fear Campaign (Hannes Grossmann, Dominic “Forest” Lapointe, Anabelle Iratni & Dean Paul Arnold)
2. Monolith of Hate (James Payne, Martino Garattoni & Anabelle Iratni)
3. The Propaganda Machine (Ken Bedene, Stian Gundersen & Anabelle Iratni)
4. The Art of Disinformation (Sebastian Lanser, Kilian Duarte, Alex Baillie & Anabelle Iratni)
5. Screams of Those Dying (Hannes Grossmann, Dominic ‘Forest’ Lapointe & Anabelle Iratni)
6. The Great Dictator (James Payne, Martino Garattoni & Anabelle Iratni)
7. The Anti-National (Sebastian Lanser, Kilian Duarte & Anabelle Iratni)
8. Crushing the Iron Fist (Ken Bedene, Stian Gundersen, Sanjay Kumar & Anabelle Iratni)

Featured Artists:
Hannes Grossmann (Alkaloid, Triptykon, Blotted Science)
James Payne (Kataklysm, Hiss From The Moat)
Ken Bedene (Aborted)
Sebastian Lanser (Obsidious, Panzerballett)

Anabelle Iratni (Veile, ex-Cradle of Filth)

Dominic “Forest” Lapointe (First Fragment, Augury, BARF)
Stian Gundersen (Blood Red Throne, You Suffer, Son of a Shotgun)
Martino Garattoni (Ne Obliviscaris, Ancient Bards)
Kilian Duarte (Abiotic, Scale the Summit)

—Lead Guitar—
Alex Baillie (Cognizance)
Dean Paul Arnold (Primalfrost)
Sanjay Kumar (Equipoise, Wormhole, Greylotus)

The Propaganda Machine” by Demonstealer is out 31st March 2023 via Black Lion Records with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.

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