Demon Lung – The Hundredth Name
Release date: June 4, 2013
Las Vegas doom metal outfit Demon Lung manages an impressive first outing with their debut full length album, “The Hundredth Name”. Consisting of eight long tracks filled to the brim with tasty riffs at a soul-crushingly slow pace, heavy fuzzy guitars, and mysterious occult related lyrics, this album makes for good listening in your car or your dim candle-lit room. There are some strong nods to the slower, heavier metal bands of the past on this album, both in sound and on the album artwork, but they are still able to maintain an original sound of their own.
Sticking to the classic doom metal template, Demon Lung’s sonic signature revolves around long, (up to nine minutes), multi-part songs made up of heavy riffs played at really slow tempos with a slight psychedelic bent. Their songs are varied and draw from a plethora of influences, ranging from the middle-eastern sounding “Eyes of Zamiel” to the black metal tinged arpeggios of “Hex Mark” to the dissonant and haunting power chords on “A Decade Twice in a Day” and “Hallowed Ground”. The last two examples were particularly old school-sounding, with a slight nod to Black Sabbath’s early material.
While staying slow and heavy, they definitely don’t enter the realm of lazy musicians. Tempo changes and tight rhythmic dynamics from guitarist Phil Burns, bassist Pat Warren and drummer Jeremy Brenton help to keep things interesting, with the band smoothly changing contrasting sections without missing a beat. While they are tight in their playing, some of their tracks, especially “A Decade Twice Over A Day” and “Hallowed Ground”, seem a little too similar to each other for my taste.
While I do keep referring to Demon Lung as “these guys” I should probably mention that the lead singer happens to be a woman; a strikingly beautiful woman name Shanda Frederick who apparently has a fondness for robes. This is the part where I point out the obvious and mention that there aren’t many female lead singers in metal bands, especially doom metal bands, but yeah, that’s been established right? Moving forward, I’d like to point out that Ms. Frederick has a commanding, relatively deep, bluesy voice that adds greatly to the mysterious and psychedelic vibe of the band. While her voice certainly has a good tone, I wish that she would hit a few more high notes or really belt it out on one of these tracks. I know she has it in her, I just wish there was a moment of breath-taking intensity from her otherwise subdued persona.
Despite the occasional bland moment, this is still one solid metal album. The heavy riffs and mysterious vocals combined with lengthy song times combine to create an experience that is sure to draw you in. Highlights of the album for me were, the reverse pseudo guitar solo on the ending section of “Hallowed Ground”, (which I wish went on for at least 2 more minutes), the middle section with the incantation on “Heathen Child” as well as most of that track, and the entirety of “Eyes of Zamiel” and “Hex Mark” The weakest parts of the album were the aforementioned, “A Decade Twice in a Day” and the most of “Hallowed Ground”. While this album will not appeal to everyone, if you are a fan of slightly nostalgic psychedelic darkness, this is definitely the album for you.