Although demos are not recorded with the general public in mind, they can find their way to the general public if the artist develops a really enthusiastic following. Sometimes they are sold illegally on bootlegs, sometimes they are sold legally on box sets or collector-friendly anthologies, and sometimes artists give them away free of charge as Mp3 downloads on their websites. But whoever is making demos available -- whether it's an artist, a bootlegger, or a legitimate indie label such as Hydra Head -- the people who are enthusiastic about hearing demos are usually collectors and die-hard fans rather than folks who have only a casual interest in the artist's work. And you know that American black metaller Scott Conner, aka Malefic, has acquired some very enthusiastic cult followers when Xasthur's demos are being sold commercially by Hydra Head. 2005 Demo is exactly what the title says: a demo that Malefic recorded in 2005. This EP only lasts 16 minutes, and during that 16 minutes, Malefic maintains a very dark mood. Malefic conveys a sense of total doom; in fact, doom metal has influenced Xasthur along with dark ambient and alternative metal. 2005 Demo underscores the fact that when he is recording as the one-man band Xasthur, Malefic is as gloomy on his demos as he is on his regular albums. The sound quality here isn't exactly up to audiophile standards, but then, audiophiles are not the disc's target audience. Obviously, Hydra Head didn't release 2005 Demo with casual listeners in mind; this CD is strictly for the true believers and obsessive collectors, who will find it to be a worthwhile listen -- imperfections and all.
2005 Demo Review
by Alex Henderson