Friday, 15 May 2015

Demon Head – Ride the Wilderness (2015) 74%

Ride the Sheep

Denmark's Demon Head full length is a bit late to the vintage doom metal or hard rock party but it's nonetheless quite enjoyable. This whole European scene is known for often blurring the line between metal and rock and these guys are a good example of this phenomenon (if I may call it one). Sweden's Witchcraft were one of the instigators of the movement and Rise Above Records and Demon Head is certainly a disciple of this doctrine.

The mastering was done by Kadavar's drummer Christoph "Tiger" Bartelt and you can definitely feel his beardy touch as the sound is quite similar to what the German rockers are playing (awesome live band) but with more doom metal influences as they're heavier and riffier but no less intense. The sound is natural with a very vintage and old school tonality as it was expected, this fits their compositions very well. They sound like a mix of old Danzig with Sabbath and Pentagram but also a big helping of psych rock. The dual guitars attack is only to create added intricacies since you usually only need to play this genre and Demon Head are not into complexities. There's still some legit fuzzy solos or simple leads intertwined with the hard hittin' traditional riffs.

Their singer, Ferreira Larsen, tries to channel Glenn Danzig and it's not a bad attempt, really but he's nowhere near as virile and Jimmorrisonesque as the ex singer of Misfits. The effects on the vocals give them an ancient mystic vibe and this works in the context of their music. The vocals are catchy, often using melodic choruses with simple hooks. The dude is also the drummer of Alucarda, another Danish band who released a pretty cool full length on Caligari Records (the label releasing Ride the Wilderness on tape) but they're pretty far from the horror inspired doom/punk and probably not as interesting either.

The songs are pretty tight and dense even the longer ones like “Worthless” (it's not exactly worthless). The album is devoid of filler, it's groovy and dynamic and the songs are well written but it's not quite memorable and I don't think I'll go back to it often. Nonetheless, their influences (from traditional doom to hard rock and so forth) are well balanced.

While it's good stuff and there's nothing intrinsically bad or truly mediocre about them, I really feel they missed their boat, this style of music has been done to death since the early 2000s by better bands. Still, if you dig Graveyard, Kadavar and the likes but want their sound to be a bit more metallic, check 'em out. They will not become the leader of their sheep flock with their music but they're an apt and talented trend follower.

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