I’m sure you guys all know by now about how awesome Magenta Harvest’s debut album is (but if you’ve been living under a rock then you can read our review here) but did you know that this album was preceded by two demos – namely 2011’s A Familiar Room and 2012’s Apparition Of Ending?
We wouldn’t want you to miss out on these, so what better way to get the ball properly rolling with our new Blast From The Past feature than for us to review these two earlier releases from them? (Although perhaps this is perhaps best described as a Blast From The Not-So-Distant Past, as these two demos were only released a relatively short time ago!)
A Familiar Room (2011)
The first release from the five-piece, it’s a great starting point with regards to their music and you can see how the band has evolved and changed since releasing this – especially with the vocals, which take a slightly deeper tone that isn’t there on the other demo or the album.
The opener Sermon is a fantastic little slice of noise and the sections where the drums, bass and guitars all move as one are incredible, really making the song one to remember, however it’s Spawn Of Neglect that really stands out from the crowd, so it’s no real surprise that this found a place on Volatile Waters as well. There’s something a little heavier and aggressive about this one than the rerecorded version and it has a meatier, more substantial tone to it but on the other hand, the keys and more prominent guitars work better in the second version, so it’s difficult to say which track is the better version of the two.
Killing Sign keeps the pace going with an intro that you instinctively want to bang your head along to and the first two-or-so minutes of the track are much of the same, really great riffs and beats before it runs into a slower and more chilled guitar solo which works well, giving you time to catch your breath before things properly get moving again with the title track A Familiar Room, which feels like the band are going all out with one last burst of energy before the demo comes to a close. The hammering drums on this track are phenomenal and the abrupt ending is a great touch because it suddenly plunges you into silence and you’re able to properly digest everything.
All in all, a great piece that’s definitely worth more than just one glance – depending on whether you can track down a copy of it, that is! (8/10)
Apparition Of Ending (2012)
Whilst A Familiar Room felt more like a standalone EP, Apparition Of Ending definitely feels more like a demo, possibly because three out of the four songs on it actually feature on Volatile Waters. There’s a rawer and slightly unfinished sound to it as well, like the band know there’s an album on the cards and are playing about with different ideas to see what works, which makes for an interesting listen.
The ‘harsher’ sound quality means that opener Apparition Of Ending is a lot more in-your-face and this works perfectly for it. It sounds nastier and more aggressive, which complements the lyrics well, and the instrumentation in the song really is top-notch. I’d even go so far to say I actually prefer this song to the album version and if there was ever a song made for a live environment, this is it.
The second track of the demo is The Unavailing Surpasser, which is the only ‘demo-exclusive’ track. It’s perhaps not the most striking of songs, so I can understand why this didn’t end up on the album as well as the other song, but it’s still a great track regardless and it’s quite the grower! The final two tracks, Carrion Of Men and One Walks Down are largely unchanged from the album versions of them, but it was interesting to note that the keys were more prominent in Carrion Of Men and less prominent in One Walks Down than their Volatile Waters counterparts.
Overall, Apparition Of Ending makes for intriguing listening after listening to Volatile Waters because you quite often find yourself trying to spot which bits had been tweaked and which bits were kept the same, and it’s also good to see the progression from these demo songs to the finished product on the album. Another recommended listen. (7/10)
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