Demon Lung
The Hundredth Name

It would be easy to assume that a band who takes their name from an Electric Wizard song would fit in nicely with the bleary eyed stoner doom bands roaming metal’s landscape nowadays. It’s an easy assumption, but a wrong one. Despite the implication of their moniker, Las Vegas’ Demon Lung stands out as a solid modern take on classic doom. The Hundredth Name recalls doom standard bearers Trouble and Candlemass, along with modern contemporaries like Argus and Doomraiser, with charismatic and well executed clean vocals, excellent guitar work, and thick production.

Probably the two most important aspects of classic/epic doom are the vocals and the riffs. Epicus Doomicus Metallicus wouldn’t be the benchmark it is without the operatic vocals of Johan Längquist or Leif Edling’s heavy and emotive songwriting. Demon Lung pull off both aspects well and add a few touches of their own to the classic script. Vocalist Shanda Fredrick has a majestic voice, carrying the songs and fully realizing the dark atmosphere of the riffs. Her voice is less operatic than Längquist or, to cite a more recent example, Iban Arrieta of Great Coven and Warchetype, but it is nonetheless wide ranging and soulful. She has a deeper register than many of her female contemporaries , similar in tone to Sharie Neyland’s work with The Wounded Kings, and her voice maintains a dark femininity fit for the album’s solemn theme.

The riff work and songwriting is mix of early Cathedral, Candlemass, and just a hint of stoner doom. Big languid riffs coupled with faster trad metal riffing accompanied by persistent double bass, effective background use of organ and tolling bells, and trudgy stomps and effective harmonies. Guitarist Philip Burns enjoys his pinch harmonics and he regularly accents his riffs with squealing vigor, sort of a Zakk Wylde by way of Gaz Jennings performance. Everything is very clean and tight without superfluous leads or solos. There are a handful of standout riffs, notably the openings of “Heathen Child” and “Eyes of Zamiel” that nail the trad doom spike with appropriate force, and some catchy lyrical lines writhing about, but not much truly pops. Solid and consistent, good but not great.

The foundation clearly exists, but despite the band’s obvious talents The Hundredth Name is lacking that little extra zezz to push it over the top. Shanda sounds like she’s holding back at times, perhaps in a bid to avoid the vocal excess that follows the style. Maybe it’s that I expect a certain amount of over-the-top hamminess with my classic doom (i.e. Saint Vitus with Scott Reagers, Cirith Ungol, and everyone who ever sang for Candlemass) and so would appreciate a more outrageous vocal performance, but the restraint is understandable and well executed. Nitpicking aside, there are few better ways to get your modern epic doom fix than Demon Lung, and their debut’s speaks to growing strengths that suggest their best is still on the horizon.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chuck Kucher
October 23rd, 2013

Comments

  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    this band is so good.


  2. Commented by: Luke_22

    Digging the sound of this from what ive heard. Been a relatively quiet year in the doom front. Age of Taurus is probably my favorite doom release so far this year.


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