Demilich Credit: Tuomas Tammi

Demilich released just one album, Nespithe, before breaking up in 1993, and its 39 minutes of music have secured their reputation as one of the weirdest, most original, and most prescient bands in technical death metal for 25 years and counting. Nespithe is a lurid, aggressively metastasizing web of alien convolutions, gonzo metrical collages, and disorienting rhythms, all of it tangled in spidery guitars that dance like the floor is covered in broken glass—and its songs still somehow groove like hell, albeit with a feel that’s more peristaltic than it is funky. Their titles say a lot about the territory these Finnish freaks occupy: “The Sixteenth Six-Tooth Son of Fourteen Four-Regional Dimensions (Still Unnamed),” for instance, or “The Planet That Once Used to Absorb Flesh in Order to Achieve Divinity and Immortality (Suffocated to the Flesh That It Desired . . . ).” Arguably the most distinctive thing about Demilich is the voice of guitarist Antti Boman—his inhumanly deep, guttural gurgle was a startling anomaly in early-90s metal, and though that style has since become familiar (in slam and brutal death metal especially), he continues to stand out. Most such vocalists just sound like backed-up storm drains, but Boman overarticulates so grotesquely that you can actually tell he’s delivering human words. Nespithe accounts for 11 of the 29 tracks on the 2014 Svart Records release 20th Adversary of Emptiness, which collects the band’s entire output to date—including three 2006 recordings (one of them a new song) and the splendidly titled 1991 demo “And the Slimy Flying Creatures Reproduce in Your Brains.” (Demilich say they’re writing two more new songs for two upcoming special releases.) The lineup on this tour includes Boman, drummer Mikko Virnes, and guitarist Aki Hytönen, all from the Nespithe days, plus new bassist Jarkko Luomajoki—but because Virnes couldn’t get time off work for the whole trip, recent live drummer LRH will appear here. The reunited Demilich have played two “final” shows already, in 2006 and 2010, and this is the first time they’ve ever come to Chicago. I wouldn’t skip this one without a note from your doctor.   v

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.