Dementia Senex are a band from Italy that mix elements of sludge, death metal, and post-hardcore. Heartworm is the band’s debut release, and despite its relatively short length they make quite an impact. Dementia Senex play metal along the lines of Ulcerate, Gorguts, and even a little bit of Intronaut. One minute there will be a brutal-yet-jazzy slab of death metal riffing, and another giving way to some melodic post-hardcore/post-rock passages (complete with full use of ebow), the track “Heartworm” being a fine example of this. The musicianship is excellent, as well as the band’s sense of timing when changing from one progression to the next; they show their considerable skill without coming off as being overindulgent. “Kairos”, for example, highlights their ability to switch up timing in speed seamlessly, starting with a chaotic-sounding jazz-infused death section, then switching into a bludgeoning hardcore-ish half-time section, with a healthy dose of melody still intact.
The production compliments the music extremely well; there’s plenty of in your face guitar work, low bass, huge drums, and the vocals layered throughout. There’s a slight echo on everything, which gives even the super heavy sections a bit of a spacey vibe, and creates a somewhat murky atmosphere, but in the best possible way. I’m also impressed with the vocal delivery; while they tend to stick to a mid-range guttural yell, there’s still a lot of emotion and conviction, which is a nice break from the 1-dimensional tough-guy approach taken by many bands.
Dementia Senex manage to grab and keep your attention with just 3 tracks on Heartworm, which is no small task; the only issue here is that it is over too soon. That’s the nature of EPs, sure, but blink and you miss it. Dementia Senex should definitely be on everybody’s watch list, and I am certainly looking forward to seeing what they do on a full-length.