Demo:listen: Graveolence

Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, grind, black, doom, sludge, heavy,  progressive, stoner, retro, post-, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen, we’re blasted apart then hastily sewn back together by Vancouver Island’s Graveolence.


Just when you thought 2016 was at critical mass with crucial death metal demos, Graceless Recordings drops this one on you: Malformation by Graveolence. Malformation is eight tracks in seventeen minutes of “just death metal,” according to WD, the guitarist. But don’t let WD’s concision fool you: Malformation isn’t like any death metal you’ve heard yet. Without including anything outlandish or gimmicky, the young Vancouver trio have simply forged a demo that is, yes, unquestionably death metal, but also entirely novel.

To these ears Malformation sounds somewhere between Cryptopsy’s None So Vile and Rottrevore’s Iniquitous with occasional saunters into the realm of death-doom. But however apt that description may be it still fails to convey the intense malignancy corrupting these songs. 

WD relates how he and vocalist JH “started writing some riffs” when they were still “in high school and made a few songs with a drum machine.” Then “[a] few years later” they sought a drummer and eventually found the monster you hear chained to these songs. Says WD: “We started jamming with our current drummer (EB) in his barn.” That sounds more like the formula for some long-winded atmospheric black metal project, practicing in a barn on Vancouver Island, that is. But after jamming Malformation on repeat for the past six weeks, I’ve been wondering what sorts of unspeakable acts might take place in that barn besides the crafting of this ultra brutality. Am I the only one imagining a fetid scent hanging in that drafty air with hooks suspended from the ceilings and ominous stains on the raw wooden floors? And that’s how I think it would look if the Graveolence guys knew to expect company, and they’d attempted to clean up the place a little.

With vocals like something chopped up and flushed down a drain, only to dwell there and ceaselessly cast up its incantations; riffs that ricochet and bounce around in your skull and seem always on the verge of completely blasting your heard apart, and drums possessed by a paradoxically unhinged precision, Malformation has something for everyone. But more than that, it has something that no other demo I’ve heard this year has. Call it a sadistic charm. In other words, while many demos have atmosphere, Malformation has teeth, blood-stained teeth, and razor-sharp claws. Truly a beast to be reckoned with.

The Malformation tapes will be available next weekend, according to my contact at Graceless. Remember: this is the label that’s given us demos by Lycus, Black Fucking Cancer, Chthe’ilist, Pissgrave, etc. So, if I were you, I’d decimate that pre-order option. Also be sure to watch out for “[m]ore walls of noise and grotesque riffs,” from Graveolence, promises WD.

You heard it here first on Demo:listen. Check this space next and every Friday for promising new metal.