Lately I have been on a major old school death metal kick, the Finnish scene in particular. I remember that when I first started listening to death metal, I kept reading about the stylistic attributes of Floridian and Swedish death metal, but I don’t recall anything about the Finnish scene until later in my metal listening career. As I explored this particular sect of death metal, I became intrigued by the atonal, cryptic melodies typical of Finnish death metal.
On the technical side, the most famous of Finnish death metal is Demilich’s Nespithe. Staff writer Goshuggist quite succinctly covered this particularly wicked and discordant page in the necronomicon of death metal history as a Technical Classic:
“The best example of a group disbanded much too soon, Demilich hailed from the eastern region of Finland, although their music leads me to believe this was simply a recorded excerpt from an unfathomable alternate dimension. Despite ‘Nespithe’ being their only full length release, Demilich are hailed as one of the best technical death metal bands in the history of the genre and rightfully so; across eleven tracks, dissonance, atonality and brutality merge to create not only fascinating material, but some of the most wholly original work in all of metal music.”
I would like to look at Demilich’s nightmarish demos, The Four Instructive Tales… of Decomposition (1991), The Echo (1992), and …Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness… (1992). These three edidolic demos will appeal to fans of both the older and newer schools of tech death; they showcase the harrowing, ethereal side of technicality, used to make music that is truly unsettling and mystifying. And, as perhaps the best point to the working metalhead, the entirety of Demilich’s discography can be downloaded for free from the band’s website (http://www.anentity.com/demilich/). In addition, the site also offers free download rehearsal tracks, live tracks, and three covers (Fleshcrawl, Fleshgrinder, and Dimensions Divide).
The Four Instructive Tales… of Decomposition  has the signature duality of grittiness yet eschatology of other Finnish demos. Note the sepulchral melodies; blastbeat and grind drum alternations; fuzzed-out guitars with amelodic, cryptic leads; and the occasional death/doom pace. The vocals reek of festering infection, like early Carcass material. Such titles as “And the Slimy Flying Creatures Reproduce in Your Brains,” speak of Demilich’s fascination with both the unreasonable and the gore, of both Lovecraft and Exhumed, and, in my opinion, show the old school Finnish death roots of a band that later become synonymous with excellence in technicality. Only one of these songs is featured on Nespithe: “Embalmed Beauty Sleep.”
The Echo  differs from The Four Instructive Tales… demo in that it sounds much more technical and otherworldly. This five-track demo must have been recorded in the crumbling necropolis of Earth’s previous lords, but, with much more precision and expertise. This is evident not only in the sound of the instruments, but also the inclusion of studio effects on two tracks. The vocals are disturbingly insalubrious, similar to Symphonies-era Carcass in their sickness. The guitars’ technicality comes to the surface with a much more nimble intricacy, as the song structure winds and boils in a sublime, preternatural manner. This results in a more discordant, disorienting listening experience. The bass guitar is unusually and thankfully high in the mix, with a thick, clanging tone. The Echo breaks into the more infamous Demilich technical aberrance; excluding only the intro, four of five tracks from this demo are found on Nespithe.
Finally, …Somewhere Inside the Bowels of Endlessness…  opens with ghostly keys, eerie enough to cause even discerning metalheads to wonder why more old school Finnish death metal doesn’t use them in short bursts, such as in “(Within) the Chamber of Whispering Eyes.” On the subject of this song, the unworldly titles fittingly depict the lexical/aural distortion present on this hair-raising demo. …Somewhere… exhibits Demilich’s frightful guitar sound, evoking insanity and otherworldly beings. Also present are the signature, extra-dimensionally low vocals; and gurgling, macabre bass. All five songs are found on Nespithe.
Overall, these demos are disgusting and horrifying (in the best way possible). These hyperphysical recordings and a real piece of technical death metal history for a band that has become infamous for it’s unique, unnatural depravity. Hence, they should not be missed, and, at the price of free-ninety-nine, you have no excuse not to be perplexed and bewildered. I believe Goshuggist summed it up quite nicely when he said “Demilich may be gone forever, but what they’ve given the metal world can never be pushed aside.”
Read Goshuggist’s Technical Classic article on Nespithe here: http://technicaldeathmetal.com/archives/1401