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Head of the Demon: Head of the Demon

This is a very entertaining album that will certainly interest readers who like their music mellow, mysterious, and menacing. Most of the strength of this album comes from its minimalistic structures: a chord change here, a chord change there, slow developments, hypnotic undertones. They call it psychedelic and so they should, but this isn't the music of the 60s; it's something more than that, a doomy psychedelia that is less trippy than its predecessors. It's slow and ethereal, but somehow heavy enough to be classified as heavy metal.

The band takes its musical and thematic cues from H. P. Lovecraft, the American horror writer who invented Cthulhu. Or did he? Some readers believe, or pretend to believe, that Lovecraft really saw and heard things beyond human comprehension, communed with powers beyond human speech, and understood mysteries beyond human reason. I don't read his work so literally as all that, but I have to admit that his inspiration makes for some pretty cool music. This album is mostly a theme and variation on the same musical ideas from start to finish. I didn't mind. The guitars create an effective meditative space with ringing, high-end arpeggios, and sustained chords. They also lead out with heavily modal passages that add to the mysterious aspects of the sound. The band also weaves in several effective organ passages that give add to the impression that listeners have just entered a blasphemous church and are readying themselves to praise Lovecraft's Elder Gods. Be sure to check out "The Key" for the best example of the way this band weaves together music and horror. The vocals, which the band describes as "Tom Warrior mentally dissociated under acid," remind us all too clearly that Yog-Sothoth is out there, listening, waiting.

One final thought: this band is made up of musicians from Sweden who are not identifying themselves, though they are musicians from already-established bands. Given the recent popularity of Ghost (or Ghost B. C. now), I'd be careful about taking this gimmick too far. It's hard to say how long it can really last, especially if Ghost B. C. proves to be less than the hype suggests. They've a perfectly good band, but the precedent may wear itself out quickly.

This is a good album. It's unusual and may require a couple of listens to get the idea, but it's fun, mysterious, and plays with the recent rise of Lovecraft effectively.

Track Listing:
1. By Titan Hand
2. The Lie in Wait--Riding the Waste
3. Phantasmagoria
4. The Man from Foreign Land
5. The Key
6. Fifth House of the Mausoleum
7. Wraith from the Unknown

Added: February 22nd 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 2332
Language: english

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