Saturday, 7 July 2012

Review: Demon Lung - Pareidolia

Sin City Doom

Hailing from the bright lights of Las Vegas, Demon Lung are an interesting female fronted doom band. For a first release, "Pareidolia" is killer. Instead of a badly recorded demo, their debut release has the production qualities of an established band that is perhaps a few albums deep. With an incredible guitar tone and wonderful hazy female vocals, this is certainly an indicator of a band that will do some very interesting things in the future.

The guitar is what really sets Demon Lung apart from other doom bands. Sure, they do have a female singer, but so do lots of doom bands. Actually, there seems to have been an upsurgence of female fronted doom lately. The riffs have more to do with thrash metal or even simple, straight-ahead death metal than doom metal. Just slowed down to a crawl. I can't remember ever hearing this many pinch harmonics played by a doom band. The guitar tone is what really makes this. Its thick, massive and overpowering. The guitar is mixed well above everything else, becoming the driving force behind the EP. 

Shanda's vocals are perfect for a doom band. They are a lot lower than you might expect from a woman. They sound a bit like Jus Oborn (of Electric Wizard fame) at his mellowest and most accessible. While on the subject of Electric Wizard, it should be mentioned that they have a song called "Demon Lung", which can be assumed as the source of this band's name. Like the drums, the vocals are much lower in the mix. They have a creepy, drugged-out quality to them, and putting them bellow the guitars helps bring that out. If they were higher in the mix, they wouldn't have the same lingering effect. They function well being somewhat in the background, which isn't at all to say they aren't a crucial part of the band. They give off a certain hazy feeling that Demon Lung wouldn't achieve if things weren't exactly as they are.

Film is a very strong influence for Demon Lung. For example, "Sour Ground" is based on the film version of Pet Sematary. Their music does have somewhat of a cinematic quality about it, albeit in a very subtle way. Their music has the atmosphere of a horror movie. Not an in your face, mindless slasher flick, but a creepy slow moving horror film where suspense is built up over a longer period of time. The slow powerful riffs certainly bring out a feeling of impending doom. Not in an immediate way, but a "slowly but surely the killer is going to get me" sort of way. Its like in the Halloween movies (I know I said its not like a slasher film, and the over all atmosphere isn't, but this example seems appropriate regarding many of the riffs) where Michael Myers is walking slowly towards a victim scrambling for their life. Although Michael is moving slower, he eventually reaches and kills the unfortunate victim. 

"Lament Code", the opener to this EP, contains the best songwriting. It is in this song where the riffs, the vocals and the songwriting mesh together in the tightest way. The songwriting for Demon Lung is not the most by the book. It is also not the most abstract. While this doesn't feature that many bizarre twists and turns, it isn't your typical verse-chorus repeat affair. They have their formula and they stick to it. One nice touch is the occasional addition of psychedelic elements. This is also most evident on the first track. A weird tone is added to the mix, one very mellow and otherworldly - like what one would imagine being on magic mushrooms underwater would feel like. Although not very common, these subtle psychedelic stylings add a nice touch of variety.

For a first attempt, these guys come out swinging. From the depths of Sin City, Demon lung are a band to watch out for. They don't do anything too crazy here - they establish their formula. Its a formula well worth hearing. Their hazy atmosphere and unorthodox way of playing guitar in a doom metal band is an interesting approach that doom fans should check out. Now with the basic sound of Demon Lung laid out, it will be very interesting to see what the band venture to do next.


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