Type: Demo CD/download
Ancient Obliteration introduced themselves as "Deathened Street Metal" which, if anything, means they should shoot their marketing director. After giving "Destruction..." its fair share of listens I believe the band play Power Metal influenced Death-Thrash. Either way, asking an old punk and life-long grind fan to review this is truly an attest to their masochism, because honestly, their asking for it.
I hold the firm belief that a Demo is all about a band displaying it's potential. The band does not need to write great songs; they only need to write great portions of songs - so that the listener gets the impression that through time and effort those moments can be expanded into fuller, complete offerings. In short, expect nothing, but hope for the best.
Each song on "Destruction from the Past" at least has that moment. Like the 58-second mark in Tokyo Tower when the riff switches up leading into a solo. The two-step movement two minutes into Of Wisdom and Madness. A creative riff variation introduced at 3:03 in Portal Beast. The bass work from 1:48 on in Defiler, including the bass solo finalizing the tune. And the intro of Shogun which crashes into a driving little number. In all, the bass work is probably my favorite from this demo. Serving as more than just a backbone playing off the drums (while having plenty room in the production to work with) the bass tends to accentuate the space between guitar notes in the slower riffing while providing much needed depth to the death metal bits. Much appreciated.
And as stated above, this is all they needed to do - show they can put together just enough moments. The next logical step is to take those moments and build proper songs around them. But how? For the most part, the riffs in each song tend to overstay their welcome. The band spends way too much time on verse-chorus-verse riffing - which is only as interesting as the riffs being used. This is not trite criticism from my "Short, Fast and Loud" mentality. A big omission is in transition from one riff to the next. There are very few bridge riffs, virtually no throw away riffs - you know, the death metal staples. Too often one riff simple becomes the next. It's little things like this which provide the variation essential to elevate a band above its peers. Also the structure surrounding solos seem like a combination of impromptu and after thought. Impromptu in presentation of the solo, after thought in the music leading up to the solo - like they knew where the solo should be but not how to make it fit with the song. In fairness these are all expected one-track-minded traits of younger bands. It is difficult to know when a good riff is being overused, and even harder to know when to set that good riff aside to be used later in a song.
The biggest issue I have with the demo comes from an area I am also the pickiest about: the drumming, namely the inclusion of blast beats. However brief they may be, they are completely out of place. Couple this with how sloppily and lightly they are played. In a few spots it sounds like the drummer is just mashing as many pieces of his kit as possible - all on the same count. It takes so much away from the listening experience. This is easy to fix though: either learn to play blast beats as they are intended, crisp and powerfully, or omit them altogether.
Ancient Obliteration can be a good band. This demo shows it. It's a question of whether they are patient enough to put in the time and persistent enough to make the effort. They were kind enough to make the demo available for download here, and if you would like to support the band, pick up a copy here. It's only 5USD.