By Andy Osborn. Getting signed to a big label on the strength of a short release alone is something that rarely occurs in today’s climate. Years of local shows, self-releases and constant touring are the typical requirement for bands to make the “step up” so it really stands out when a two-year old group gets quickly snatched by an acclaimed labelReview by Andy Osborn.
|Artwork by Tom Bates|
Getting signed to a big label on the strength of a short release alone is something that rarely occurs in today’s climate. Years of local shows, self-releases and constant touring are the typical requirement for bands to make the “step up” so it really stands out when a two-year old group gets quickly snatched by an acclaimed label. But that’s exactly what happened to Las Vegas coven Demon Lung. After self-releasing a critically acclaimed EP last March, Candlelight signed the newcomers and fast-tracked a debut full-length for the quartet.
Demon Lung are part of what I like to call the New Wave of Female-Fronted American Doom Metal, joining the likes of Castle, Witch Mountain and Subrosa with their take on the timeless subgenre. NWOFFADM can come in many forms, just look at the differences to the aforementioned groups and you’ll find no lack of diversity. But they each owe something to one that has come before, an unmistakable influence or stain that has rubbed off onto this younger generation. And Demon Lung wholeheartedly embraces their influences, working closely with a vibe akin to Candlemass while adding a distinctive American spin.
The Hundredth Name opens in homage to the forces of metal with an offering of distortion and grime before trudging into the introduction of the album’s concept. Effortless chugging mixes with well-placed hammer-on riffage as the band gives forth a tale of Satan’s son who has arrived on Earth to deal with the nasty issue of all creation. Shanda Fredrick’s soaring vocals interplay with riffs that deceive; both devastatingly heavy and surprisingly melodic. Guitarist Phil Burns is the master of tension, holding each note and coaxing out every possible sound wave until the last possible moment and delivering the next crushing chord with satisfying accuracy. For almost an hour the band explores the ancient ways of the weighty without falling into any patterns or easily adopted habits. Up-tempo verses are used sparingly, appearing at choice intervals to keep blood pumping and the ears guessing. There’s no filler to be had in this meaty debut, just intelligent heaviness with the right amount of melody.
Demon Lung show why DOOM has existed, and thrived, for 40+ years. There’s no lack of intrigue to be discovered in their heavy, blues-driven guitar work and solid song writing skills. Wielding these weapons, the group plots their own path while remembering their elders. The torch has been passed, and the masters of old should be pleased.