We are currently experiencing, for whatever reason, a resurgence of interest in doom and sludge metal. I’m not sure what’s spurred this sudden rediscovery of a genre I hold nearest and dearest to my black heart, but I’m all over it. Bands that I’ve been jamming on and ranting about for years are finally getting the attention I’ve always felt they were due. There’s always a less appealing aspect to upswings in interest like this however, coming here in the form of a flooding of the market and thus dilution of the product. See alsoa: hipsters who’ve just discovered Sleep, denim vests and weed. If we’re going to be honest (aren’t we always?), no one likes their shit cut and stepped on now do they?
Enter, for better or worse, Demon Lungs’ newest album “A Dracula.” A concept album built around the 1977 vampire cult classic Alucarda, A Dracula has a handful of moments that stand out but ultimately fails to leave a real lasting impression. The musicianship and production is technically good and anyone who says otherwise isn’t listening and probably smoked a few too many bowls before hitting play. The shortcoming lies in the lack of variety and feeling of re-tread ground which is almost always a death sentence in my books. I found myself more than once losing my place in the album;not because i was overcome and swept away but because I literally had a hard time discerning track 1 from 3 from 8. Then again, I find I have the same issue with some of Electric Wizard’s material and I love them so what do i know?
The strongest and most distinct aspect of “A Dracula” is Shandra Fredricks vocals. Instead of walking the same path so many doom bands do and offering us growling, near indecipherable lyrics that attempt to compete withe the low end of the track Shandra’s vocals soar overtop the thick riffs providing a nice counterpoint to the heavy aspects of the album. I would love to hear more of this in the future, from Demon Lung or others, as it does inject something fresh into the Sabbath-meets-Conan formula we’ve been inundated with as of late.
This is far from a bad album and is definitely worth a listen if you need a quick doom fix, but don’t expect to be blown away. I’m very interested to see what the future holds for Demon Lung, in part because they have a really REALLY solid name but also because there’s some real skill here that just needs to find it’s unique voice.
-Scotty can be found contemplating a life of vampirism and its potential benefits on Twitter