Originally written by Matt Longo
For better or worse, Las Vegas stands as testament to the indomitability of the human drive to create, even in the face of impossible odds — and this remains today, even if the meaning is slightly different. (Defiant, irrational hope keeps those shrimp cocktails at 99 cents.) It’s gotta be complicated hosting ~40M people/year when you’re in the middle of the damned desert, but people adapt — like how residents saved billions of gallons of water by Xeriscaping, instead of force-retrofitting something from a different region.
But I say “Las Vegas” and what do you all think: Casinos? Prostitution? Quasi-legality? It’s not like many folks actually think about the nature of the beast over and above the tantalizing fruit it bears. I have written about my brief experience in Sin City before, but was recently inspired to start this particular write-up by something too retarded to be an atrocity, as I watched a sterile, swoop-haired upstart gnash their gums in a toothless tirade. So there’s two bands listed; now try to name more than a handful of other heavy Vegas groups… and even if you do, how many are really worth jamming? The deeper anomaly of Demon Lung distinguishes by the very conviction in their diabolical guts.
And DOOM seems to fit the true climate of that hazy, crazy city anyway; gritty desolation with only glimmers of hope feels fitting, rather than angst-driven alterity. Capturing every grain of grime this time is producer|engine-ear Billy Anderson, illuminating where needed to bring forth Demon Lung’s conceptual vision of Satanic uncreation.
As our esteemed Captain aptly put it, that cover art contains “the kindliest goddamned ram-headed figure I’ve ever seen by far” — a sentiment I can’t deny; big horns = big hearts. Expanding on last year’s 4-song Pareidolia EP, the opening track is likewise longest on this release, but The Hundredth Name has a different execution; “Lament Code” on the former gets going after a minute or so, while “Binding of the Witch” on the latter takes well over four minutes during its creepy descent into a din of crushing riffs, distortion, and backward vocals. Both beginnings are respectively effective in context, but I’m especially glad they opted for the longer intro on the full-length — it makes the journey more immersive.
“A Decade Twice Over the Day” discovers a Jennifer Charles level of dusty sultriness, although the heavier spectrum would more likely include Christine Davis or Jess or Sera Timms. Yet vocalist Shanda Fredrick maintains her steady, hypnotic echo — a perfect compliment to the deliberate pace, freeing the listener to explore all parts of this sinister song, from the emerging synths to Patrick Warren’s bubbling bass break to Patrick Burns’s tritonic trudge.
Then rare tracks like “Hex Mark” simply blast out of the gate in a hard charge before relegating to a slower gait. Now Demon Lung (and DOOM by extension) won’t ever go breakneck on you, but ‘gallop’ is definitely in the arsenal. Perhaps more important than tempo shifts, they made sure to include fist-pumping, chant-inducing moments like “We are marked with the heeeeeex!” to twist into your memory and encourage repeat spins.
So there it is: with the right ingredients — unflinching confidence, solid production, regional uniqueness, and a dash of Satan — you could strike sparks anywhere. More alluring than loathsome, Demon Lung is here to fearlessly take you to the pentagrammar school of DOOM, little lambs.