Saturday, 16 May 2015

Demon Head - Ride The Wilderness (Album Review)

Ride The Wilderness cover art

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: May 20th 2015
Label: This Charming Man Records

Ride The Wilderness - Track Listing:

1.Undertaker 05:47
2.Winterland 04:25
3.Revelations of April 04:35
4.Ride The Wilderness 06:53
5.Book Of Changes 04:44
6.Demon Head 06:29
7.The Greatest Lie 04:51
8.Worthless 07:20


J.W. - Drums
M.S.F. - Bass
B.G.N. - Guitar
T.G.N. - Guitar
M.F.L. - Vocals


Demon Head’s “Ride the Wilderness” is proof of the old adage, “it isn’t what you say, it’s how you say it.” While Demon Head doesn’t overwhelm you with complex or intricate instrumentation or song structure, they just know how to play their damn instruments extremely well with the kind of conviction, confidence, and emotion rarely seen now a days. A lot of bands substitute for digital recording to more easily smooth over parts or correct mistakes. The whole album is a time machine back to 1970. It’s a bunch of guys who set up in a studio with analog equipment and let everything just flow.

Marcus, the vocalist, has a very Bobby Leibling quality with a little Glen Danzing sprinkled in with his voice which suites the style perfectly. Blending wailing, moaning, and gritty growls, an eerie and almost surreal The vocals also seem to be double tracked and panned to each to each ear to give a false chorus effect. It just adds to creepiness of the album. The drums are a throwback and super clear. The bass has enough bit but isn’t drowned in distortion. The quality of the guitar tones is something to behold as well. This is all because the band recorded on a 16 track tape recorder. The retro style of recording really calmed down any clipping you may hear in a digital recording resulting in a smoother product. With bands like Demon Head, you are getting a sound similar to Witchcraft, Pentagram, and November, which get their heaviness from their riffs, emphasis on time, song structure, and lyrics rather than their distortion pedals.

The opening track, “Undertaker” begins with a twangy guitar that introduces the listener to the primary riff that they’ll hear for the next five and half minutes. Once the queue for the rest of bands comes in, it’s clear these guys are a huge fans of proto-doom bands and music from the 1970s. Crash heavy drums, lightly fuzzed guitars, walking bass, all complemented by a constantly humming organ. The rest of the album follows a similar style in song structure. Taking a blues sounding riff, mixing in the typical European time-breaks and false stops with wondering solos through bridges and chorus parts.

To some people this may sound tiresome but like many good things, you can’t have enough of it. The song “Demon Head” is probably my favorite off the album because it takes their formula for song writing and takes it to the next level. Adding in a dissonant sound while remaining true to the blues sound, the songs is what I image the Devil would sound like. Smooth yet disgusting, sweet yet bitter. “Worthless” which ends the album is in a similar fashion where dissonances is used heavily in their riffs but keeps the perfect trance inducing tempo the rest of the eight track album carries through most of the songs.

This is probably the best new album I’ve heard. This is what a band like Witchcraft should have become after their debut album. If there needs to be anything negative to say about the album, it would probably be the volume of the bass preventing it from being more defined and the guitar solos lacking crystal clear clarity that I prefer. Even writing those two minor complaints feels a bit blasphemous.

The album just kicks ass on a biblical level. In the bands own words, “Over the course of the following months, the winds took us to a small country home at the infamous Heather Hills where we finished what was already too alive to be buried.” If something unseen in the universe guided them to make this album, I hope that same thing speaks to the band again because this was just such a good piece of art.

You WON’T regret buying this and it may work a way into your daily listening playlist. Prepare to get addicted.

Words by Jim Eccles

Thanks To Chris at This Charming Man Records and Demon Head for the album promo. Ride The Wilderness will be released on CD/Vinyl from This Charming Man Records from May 20th 2015.

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