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 call down the raw and vicious power of Montreal’s Profane Order.
Profane Order play black metal the way asteroids play tag. That is, with apocalyptic consequences. Marked by Malice, the Montreal four-piece’s debut, has more muscle and groove than anyone would rightfully expect from a black metal demo. But that’s exactly why you’re reading about it here and now: because Profane Order’s demo is simply exceptional.
Says Taylor, one of Profane Order’s guitarists: “We’ve been a band for about a year and a half. Jordan and I each had some songs we had been sitting on. We got together and started working on more material. Rounding out the lineup was relatively easy as I was already playing in Subsist with Antoine, and Jordan and Olwyn play together in Spectral Wound.” So you’ve got Taylor, the guitarist, and Antoine, the drummer, from Subsist, a powerviolence band; plus Jordan, guitarist/vocalist, and Olwyn, the bassist, from Spectral Wound, a black metal band. Suddenly Profane Order’s brand of punishing, grinding black metal makes sense, yet such intel actually does little to soften the blow dealt by these seven songs and their manifold riffs.
Opening with “Rat’s Nest,” which rides out a Blasphemy-sounding riff for nearly all of its four minutes and still doesn’t get tiresome, MbM is not a demo littered with doomy palm mutes and smoky hossanas to Satan as you may expect. Instead it’s rather unrelentless when it comes to its blasting and tremolo riffing. Once “Rat’s Nest” ends—and here’s where owning the tape is crucial because “Ad Nauseam” is hot on the heels of its predecessor—the demo hardly slows down again until about a third of the way through “Siege,” the penultimate track. With the notable exception of several moments found within “Dyed in the Wool,” the demo’s strongest track.
Finally, the closer, the nearly six-minute “Natural Order,” with its book-ending sludge is the kind of track that a lesser band would call their entire demo. Profane Order are several things, but a lesser band ain’t one of them. Says Taylor: “The writing is basically split 70/30 between Jordan and I, with Jordan taking on most of the responsibilities. We usually just come in to the jam space with full songs and then they get tweaked as needed. The sound is pretty much determined by the material we bring in from writing at home, and comes from non-surprising influences such as Black Witchery, Blasphemy, Diocletian, Revenge, Ride for Revenge, etc.” While he may be right that those influences are “non-surprising,” they’re also non-overwhelming. Many bands nowadays sound like they’re obviously inspired by that bestial horde, but Profane Order don’t come off as derivative. Instead they sound like a band who, a couple of releases from now, could find their own place among that dread pantheon.
Taylor explains that the cover art for Marked by Malice “was drawn by Amanda Blodoks,” and how it’s “Dante’s representation of Satan in the 9th Circle of Hell. He has three faces and three mouths in which Brutus, Judas, and Cassius are being eaten eternally . . .” Marked by Malice is currently available for “name your price” on their Bandcamp, as well as on cassette from Taylor’s own label/distro, Scream and Writhe. But if you’re looking to grip a tape, you’d better get on it. According to Taylor: “We have played four shows in Montreal at this point, have another coming up in November and will be playing Toronto soon as well. Reception has been good, we released our tape just over a week ago and are down to half the pressing already.”
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