Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dementia Senex - Heartworm (EP) (2013)

It all takes time. From inception to success, the growth process of a metal band can take years, if not an entire career. Formed in 2008, Cesena, Italy based Dementia Senex are in the very early stages of that life cycle. This five piece has all of the characteristics of a band in the prime, but without the layer of polish and shine that comes with experience. This isn't to say that they don't have any; they have, in their short time together, shared the stage with international acts Fleshgod Apocalypse and Fuck The Facts. yet five years later, they are still relegated to the Italian underground, waiting for their chance to poke their heads above water for some much needed exposure. As difficult as that can be, there is no better time than the present to make your first stab at the limelight. With their new EP, "Heartworm," they make a valiant attempt to put their stamp on the scene, but they still suffer from some of the inconsistencies that a band in it's teenage years are bound to have.  

A gruelingly slow pacing begins the first track, "Unscented Walls." The thunderous thud of the kick drums is notable, but it is the way the track changes and evolves over the course of nine minutes that is the real thing to watch. Mixed into this framework are periods of old school death metal, doom, and blackened thrash, without ever really defining themselves by any of the three. The lone constant is the vocals, with their low end growls commanding every ounce of attention they deserve. They are joined at every turn by a battery of percussion, sometimes overwhelming in intensity. But the production work, which is clean and balanced, allows for an occasional guitar melody to jump through, albeit sparingly. With so many tempo and tone changes, some are bound to stand out from others, with the second half of the track feeling more focused. By contrast, the much shorter "Kairos" may be much more one dimensional in scope, but it succeeds in its simplicity. Relentlessly heavy and diabolically crafted, it is a three minute punch in the gut. It is the closing track that remains the biggest head scratcher, though. The title track, "Heartworm," is a Dr Jekyll and Mr. Hyde experiment. A clean opening descends into a chaotic first verse. It would seem that rhyme and/or reason have been thrown to the wind here, with little in the way of cohesion. But the second half is another story altogether, displaying some of the most intricate and well delivered guitar work. It becomes indicative of the growth process, for better or worse.

Let's face it, it is a lot easier to hate something and dismiss it than it is to sit back, take it in, and learn to like it. For Dementia Senex, the first impression won't be their best. It may take time, patience, and a willingness to listen again before you find yourself enjoying the three tracks they've provided. By no means is this an indictment of what they've done; there is little wrong with the music itself, aside from some of the structural and identity glitches. For a band that is only five years into their existence, it would be ridiculous to expect that they would have themselves and their style completely figured out. That simply takes time. But what needs to happen, should this be a project that hopes to go beyond the underground scene and into the mainstream (or whatever passes for mainstream in the death metal realm), is a focus on narrowing down the menu, and nailing down the structural integrity within each song. And much like the name implies, "Heartworm" may take time to grow before it infects us as intended.


Facebook - http://www.facebook.com/dementiasenex
Bandcamp - http://thepathlesstraveledrecords.bandcamp.com/album/heartworm

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