When traditional/proto-doom is done right, there are few things finer, and few if any bands are doing it better than Demon Head. The Copenhagen-dwelling quintet recently had a demo tape released by the venerable Caligari Records, and it’s a slow-burning scorcher that quite frankly blows recent big-name practitioners of the style such as Kadavar and Orchid out of the water. It really is that damn good.
But what makes it so good? Well for starters, it’s obvious that these guys have intently studied the one key element of Black Sabbath that so many bands ignore; the swing. Bill Ward and Geezer Butler had a loose, jazzy rhythm style that made Sabbath’s songs swing no matter how hard ‘n’ heavy they got. The same is very much true of Demon Head’s rhythm section comprised of bassist Fuglsang and drummer Wittus, and it’s this that’ll have you begging for more when these twenty minutes are up.
Of course, there’s more to Demon Head than just the swing. Vocalist Ferreira Larsen does an expert job of channeling ’70s Bobby Liebling, inflecting the songs with a haunting yet soulful quality. Gjerlufsen and Gjerluff Nielsen trade fuzzed-up riffs and leads that sound like Victor Griffin jamming out with Tony Iommi; that might sound like hyperbole, but the quality of playing here really is more akin to the classic doom bands than any of Demon Head’s contemporaries. Most bands attempting this style circa now sound like half-assed facsimiles of what came before; Demon Head sound like they truly believe their peers to be doom metal’s godfathers.
As one might expect, the recording quality of Demo 2014 perfectly suits the music; warm, fuzzy, lo-fi and buzzy. If you’re going to go proto, you gotta go all the way, and Demon Head whip up a sound that’s pure vintage analog. I’m not sure whether or not this was actually recorded on analog equipment, but if not the band did an exquisite job of replicating that sound, further adding to the air of authenticity.
Demo 2014 is already sold out from Caligari Records, but is still available as a pay-what-you-want download from the band’s Bandcamp page. Fans of this style owe it to themselves to get their grubby paws on this any way they can.