Haiduk, hailing from Alberta, Canada, is a one-man blackened death metal act. When he sent me his second album, Demonicon, a concept album about nine demonic entities, I wondered if I was getting into a half-hour of self-indulgent, ham-fisted fuckwittery. Nothing could be further from the truth, because Luka Milojica is quite the talented individual.
As Demonicon begins and opener Syth fills your ears, the first thing that jumps out is the guitar riffing. Milojica has a precision to his fret work typically reserved for noodly progressive metal acts, but he stays on point and leaves the ramen at home.
The third song, Deamris, is a particular highlight for the guitar, with plenty of time changes and extended solos. Sarxas has an eerie opening and a melody evoking a sense of mystery. Corloch dives into thrash territory, and at only two-thirds of the way through the album, we’ve seen quite a bit of talent displayed.
The tracks are fast and tight. Only the final track, Xhadex, inches over the four-and-a-half-minute mark, keeping everything interesting and not allowing for the inevitable descent into noodling territory.
There are two main issues with this album that knock it down a few points: The first being the production. The way the album was mastered seems to have trimmed a lot of the low end of the music out, and there is a decidedly "flat" sound to everything. Having a somewhat trained ear, I can tell these are programmed drums as well, but they aren’t egregiously offensive or anything. The other issue I have is with the vocals. This could be related to the production, but they sound particularly aspirated, almost as if Milojica was trying to sing a few bars below his optimal range. Anyway, it leaves me yearning for a bit more power to cement the intensity.
Overall, Demonicon is a strong entry into the blackened death metal genre, and for an independent release, it sets the bar pretty high. If you’re a fan of the guitar, it’s definitely worth your time to at least give this a listen, and Haiduk should be an act to keep your eye out for in the future.
Special thanks to Luka Milojica for the complementary review copy.