Trakooma ("Trachoma") was founded in late '08, and had released two digital demos sung in Finnish by 2010. During that year the band decided to change their language to English, and in early 2011 they self-recorded, -produced and -released their debut album of melodic and technical death metal as a very affordable pro-CDR in a cardboard slip.

"Demented Brutality" presents seven songs of Gothenburg-style death metal with some metalcore-influence, meaning a lot of focus put on melodies, some (melodic) thrash metal-hints in the riffs, as well as a melancholic feel rising its head from time to time amidst the more aggressive beating. The band's style isn't limited to the Swedes' stuff, as they've got a lot of less melodic elements as well; one clear example is the song "Hold Your Hate," which combines melodic lead guitars, thrashing simplisticity, some blastbeats and overall heavier, more brutal riffing - and it's follow-up takes the transition between the two extremes even further through delivering some brutality a'la the newer (American) names of heavier technical death metal, such as The Faceless. The songs vary nicely from each other as the band clearly isn't afraid of executing many different styles of death metal during one song, and even less during the whole album. Despite the versatility, the album doesn't seem lost or confused at any point.

The album was recorded at the group's rehearsal place and mixed by the members themselves, and although the album sounds even surprisingly professional, it's still clear that the songs could've benefited from some outside help. The songs are very versatile, but don't have the production that would bring out the best of them; the guitar's sound and emphasis in the mix stays too similar, no matter if the strings are delivering thrash-shredding or a lot more technical and heavier bits. The aforementioned causes the songs to sound a bit flatter than they actually are, and eats away a great amount of their and the album's overall impact. This one is also partly due to the soundscape, but it seems as if the songs would need more distinctive hooks; the more melodic parts make them sound lighter, which means that the heavier parts have to lend their effect into balancing out this lightness instead of bringing something fresh, appealing and different to the listener's ears. The album's different aspects balance each other out, and thus it leaves its listener with the image of a good and solid album, but one that left too few specific moments and too little detail to his/her mind; you hear them when you listen to the album, but they don't stick with you after it's over.

The album's lyrics deal with bleeding flesh, torment, hate, murder, sadism, and the other darker sides of humanity, but from view which describes the killer's (or other "main character's") thought processes instead of being a mere gore feast. The lyrics are overall written in a style which could be more easily affiliated with metalcore, which is also one of the band's influences that they blend in to accompany the heavier and more traditional elements. These indications towards metalcore kind of make perfect sense, since they could at least partly be said about the vocals as well; the hollow growls are more about creating a feel of heaviness instead of actual impact, and the hoarse high screams are similarly "dull" as well. It's a bit of a shame, since the songs could've used some extra kick from them.

It seems that the band is in the transition point of their sound, and they themselves said to have aimed towards a more melodic approach. As of yet the band hasn't perfected their own mixture of the heavier death metal, technical gimmicks, and the more melodic riffs and metalcore, but they're onto a really promising start. I give the band a thumbs up for having such trust in their sound and style that they decided to self-finance their album, and will keep an ear on their future works. Hopefully this album helps them in treading further on their own path.

7 / 10