Which leaves us with these two tracks. They're Xasthur, obviously, just a little rawer and tinnier-sounding than usual. Where they fit in the larger scheme of things and what they ultimately mean is more debatable, as they don't seem to me to be all that different from anything Malefic has produced before "Subliminal Genocide" or after. Both are extended pieces, about 8 minutes each, and both hover more in the black metal/dreamwash hybrid that Xasthur has bred so purely throughout the years. There are no surprises here, just business as usual-guitars layered to saturation, doubling and tripling and collapsing in on themselves from the result of meticulous tracking and recording, as well as laden with echoes and delays and all other manner of distorting looping effects. Drums are machine-generated and far-away sounding, perhaps the largest break from the "Subliminal Genocide" sound-that album featured absolutely flattening drums by Xasthur standards (but hey-these are demo versions...) With a little polish and construction both of these tracks could have fit alongside the other "SG" material just fine, and why Malefic chose to shelve them is a mystery. The second track is particularly strong, boasting an extended outro comprised of nauseating harmonized guitar leads, panned hard right and hard left, that twist and mutate and devolve and become so dissonant and uncomplimentary that the track becomes difficult to listen to. The effects just take everything in hand and change them. That constant state of flux, even within songs, is one of Xasthur's most distinctive and inimitable features and its used to its maximum effect here.
What perplexes me most is the fact that people don't seem to remember that "Subliminal Genocide" was actually a pretty fucked-up album. It was a brainmelter, surely. Aside from a few straightforward (again, using that term very loosely) pummelers the album was mostly given over to hypnotic dirging and uneasily dreamy guitar explorations. It's obviously different from both "Defective Epitaph" and "All Reflections Drained" but if listened to carefully it's easy to hear the gurglings of both those albums within. It isn't a far reach to go from one to the other and back. It's a logical (and to me, obvious) progression. "Demo 2005" doesn't bridge a gap or solve a mystery so much as it gives the dedicated follower more to think about and another facet to appreciate; in that regard its value is inherent.