There is no knowing the depth of doom metal and all of the evil and strangeness it is able to hold, but as long as bands are willing to keep stretching its boundaries and parameters, chances are we’re going to get some artists now and again that will come out of nowhere and surprise the unholy shit out of us all.
Take, for instance, Las Vegas quartet Demon Lung, whose debut record “The Hundredth Name” doesn’t stamp out a ton of new ground in the doom genre, per se, but does establish a fiery new presence and a band willing to examine the depths of the sub-genre’s past in order to take it into the future. And wow, is this stuff every psychedelic and witchy, balancing their Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Jex Thoth, and Electric Wizard tendencies with singer Shandra Fredrick’s incredibly strong, emotive vocals that make it sound like she’s in the middle of calling spirits from the past to excise the present. She’s a haunting, unforgettable presence, and the band backs her up with the proper black majesty.
Before this record, the band had only a 2012 EP “Pareidolia” to their name, and they’ve only been a band since 2011. That’s shocking in and of itself because they sound like they’ve been together for a decade or more. They’re such a strong unit, and this debut should thrill to the core those who love doom and hunger for new acts to keep the banners flying. Demon Lung is more than capable of taking on a leadership position in the field, and this impressive debut record is one you should go out of your way to hear. Do it right now.
Along with Fredrick’s incredible pipes are three other major players who bring the sludge, drone, and filthy riffs in doses that should leave you gorged. Phillip Burns handles the guitar work, Patrick Warren is on bass, and Jeremy Brenton is behind the drum kit, making vicious, dark noises for all to hear. The album is conceptual and as dark as they come, telling the story of Satan’s son coming to earth to assemble the three parts of the devil’s bible so he can say the name of God backward and undo creation. The album was recorded with Adam Myatt and the mighty Billy Anderson, and the result is a hulking, apocalyptic record that does its subject matter justice over and over again.
The tale opens with “Binding of the Witch,” which spills tidal waves of burning doom and drone, letting the noise build into a frenzy before a strong riff erupts, thick, deep singing from Fredrick begins to spin this hellish yarn, with her observing, “Bodies lie in the wake,” and the band eventually hitting a gallop and driving dust into your lungs with the dawning of “Devil’s Wind.” That cut rips open with sludgy bashing, expressive vocals, and a Sabbath-like haze that settles over everything and makes you convinced you’re going to suffocate. “Eyes of Zamiel” is built on slowly delivered chugging melodies and morbidity, with Fredrick delivering the fateful words, “Only through me can you undo creation.” “A Decade Twice Over a Day” is a stunner, quietly witchy in spots, trippy and mind-altering in others, and sometimes brutally savage when the tempo kicks up. Great song that leads us into the second half.
“Heathen Child” is punchy, sweltering, and to the point, with Fredrick’s vocals positively swaggering and the band backing her up with muddy transmissions. “Hex Mark” also has some faster parts, with soulful vocals and atmospheric trudging, and for the most part, the song crushes you under its feet. “Hallowed Ground” slows things down again, with heavy organs, smoky winds, and more emotional singing from Fredrick as she starts to draw the tale to a close and get you ready for the ultimate ending. Closer “Incantation (The Hundredth Name)” begins with eerie acoustic picking that slips into slow-driving heaviness. “I will bring the end of time,” Fredrick sings, while face-melting sludging and apocalyptic spookiness erupt behind her, and as the song bleeds to its conclusion, you get the idea that fade out is akin to the world disappearing into nothingness, like it was never there in the first place.
Horrific stories and end-of-times nightmares are nothing new to the world of metal, but it’s certainly part of its lore. Demon Lung do an excellent job adding to that world and making your skin freeze, but really where they stand out is in their performance. They could be making songs about their personal diaries and their music and Fredrick’s singing would make it sound just as devastating, just a fiery. This is a great new band with a strong label in Candlelight behind them, and there’s nowhere for Demon Lung to go but up. Even if their hearts are down in the dirt, in the cavernous realms of hell.
For more on the band, go here: http://demonlungband.com
To buy the album, go here: http://www.manicmusiconline.com/demon-lung-the-hundredth-name.html
For more on the label, go here: http://www.candlelightrecordsusa.com/