Keith Merrow is seriously a kick-ass guitar player, and more importantly, a relevant guitar player. His chops usually combine old school riffs with some modern grooves & melody, and include not just great technique, but the best tone around. In due time, I will catch up with Keith’s instrumental solo material, but today we are talking about his DM project with guitarist Gord Olson, Demisery, and the album released in 2011 under that moniker: “Hive of Mutation“.
Demisery is basically that stuff long-time Death Metal fans are always looking for and is nowhere to be found these days. It’s metal in the vein of old school acts combined with modern elements(e.g blastbeats). Sounds good eh? Let’s get down to details. Entering “Hive of Mutation” the title track presents the face of extreme metal as it used to be; unpretty, consisting of visceral riffs and evil atmosphere. It’s bloody chaos. But the real brutality lies within next track “Vicious Stabbing“. Cymbal chokes, cymbal chokes everywhere! This piece has a bit of a CC feel to it, being short and sweet not unlike “Hammer Smashed Face”. The use of high and low register vocals should be noted, since they really adds to the song. Check it out ya’ll:
Third we have “The Enlightener“, blast-beating you unconscious before bringing it down with some nice mid-paced groove. In between, this insanely fast solo erupts outta nowhere, so better pay attention, you sick f*cks!
“I, Warlord” is a longer track that opens slowly and reminds me of Sweden’s Bloodbath, which is an excellent thing. The solo sections are also lengthier here and more satisfying. Oh yes, this track is good – it’s damn good! Same goes for “Thralldom” – the vocals here sound so much like Chuck(Schulinder) it’s amazing. On first listen this album’s tracklist feels same-ish, but give it a chance and you’ll see it actually offers some nice variation, not just vocally. A good example is “Within the Shadow” with it’s thrashy riffage section. Great and just memorable, this song’s solo has a classic heavy metal vibe to it. Talkin’ about classics, this release also contains a spot on cover of Death‘s “Flattening of Emotions“:
Packed with 12 tracks, “Hive of Mutation” is literally a heavy listen and by its second half, the general tone gets a bit repetitive. Overall, I don’t think this album is on the same level as other modern-day attempts to bring old-school DM to life (*ahem* Bloodbath *ahem*). However, being a second tier band in this genre is more than a respectful achievement in itself. This album gets a score of 7.5/10. If you like it and want to support Keith’s music, buy it here.