What makes a good doom band? Sludgy guitars so thick they are the aural equivalent of molasses? Sabbath-like rhythm sections that do so much more than just ‘keep the time’? A vocalist with massive pipes, whether it be the clean or growling variety? Most likely what makes a truly great doom record is when all of the above come crashing together like a supernova (slowly) exploding in space. Take for example the violent beauty of the debut album from Las Vegas’ Demon Lung.
Good doom metal takes on so many various forms. If you were to take all the great doom bands throughout history, from Black Sabbath to Candlemass to Saint Vitus to Electric Wizard, there would be enough sonic differences to sometimes overshadow the similarities. The great doom bands moving forward won’t be the ones simply copying what the forefathers have laid down before us. They’ll be the ones learning from the masters and then forging their own distinct voice that will rise above all others. Demon Lung have done exactly that.
The riffs on this album certainly worship at the Altar of Iommi but at the same time there is this melodicism that doom bands sometimes lack (whether purposely or not). A track like opener “Binding of the Witch” really showcases the tempo changes and Iron Maiden-esque experimentation that most doom bands would dare not tread towards. Vocalist Shanda Fredrick has so much power and soul to her voice that puts her amongst some of the very best in the genre and makes her easily one of the better female voices in metal today. Her’s is a voice that was tailor-made for doom. Add to the mix pristine production handled by the legendary Billy Anderson, killer occult artwork, and a truly dark lyrical theme and what you have here is a recipe for contender to the title “doom record of the year”.
Although their sound is probably more closely related to the aforementioned Candlemass and Saint Vitus, fans of the not only the heavier, sludgy doom varieties but the occult rock scene as well will have a lot to love here. The Hundreth Name will hit the street June 4 via Candlelight Records.
Proto-metal seems to be a pretty hot ticket these days. What with so many bands trying to revive the sound and style. I’m a little surprised though that with such a revival some of the lost classics of late 60’s/early 70’s proto-metal have remained…well…lost. Take for example the band Gun from the UK. I highly recommend you check out their self-titled debut. It’s not as heavy as Sabbath or Zeppelin…but this album came out a full year to two years before either of them released an album.