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Demon Head: Viscera

One of the cool things about Demon Head is their insistence on independence in style, substance, and purpose. They have scrupulously avoided easy labels for what they do and have insisted that they are just a musical organism, free to develop as it pleases. There’s something easily admirable about that; after all, who wouldn’t want to be free of creative constraints, especially those run by market forces and spreadsheets?

For those longing for a label, the band has given us “diabolic rock,” an expression precise enough to get us thinking along the lines of occult rock or Goth rock. It is also vague enough to allow for the kind of experimentation the band wants to try. On this album, the band brings together all their ambitions, hopes, dreams, and contradictions into a somewhat middling mid-tempo blend of atmosphere and longing. In addition to bass, guitars, drums, and vocals, the band adds acoustic instruments, tape manipulation, and church organ here a little and there a little.

For the most part, the album works. The music moves along seamlessly, generally building its various moods and atmospheres effectively. But it is also a bit overly labored. The best tracks are the short ones that convey a sense of mood and purpose at the same time. Along those lines, I particularly liked “A Long, Groaning Descent” because it was precisely that: a slow fall into the unknown. I also thought “The Lupine Choir” was terrific. It was mellow and dark and left me wanting more. Both of those tracks are short and somewhat charming in the way they develop.

The tracks with vocals were frankly a little more labored than they should have been. Marcus Ferreira Larsen has the right voice for this band, but he sometimes comes across as outside of the whole experience, as if he’s crying out from a distance.

Demon Head is a strong band, and they tend to write good music. On this album, however, things drag out a little more than they need to. Besides the tracks I already mentioned, I suggest checking out “Black Torches,” “The Feline Smile,” and “The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony.” The last of those is especially good at playing with the silence and letting the music breathe.

Track Listing:
1. Tooth and Nail
2. The Feline Smile
3. Arrows
4. Magical Death
5. The Lupine Choir
6. A Long, Groaning Descent
7. In Adamantine Chains
8. Black Torches
9. Wreath
10. The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony

Added: June 28th 2021
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 385
Language: english

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