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From the looks of the Demon Lung EP cover, I admit to expecting something a bit more psychedelic/stoner in its execution. But this young, female-fronted Las Vegas band definitely has a more crushing and metallic side to them which recalls doom veterans like Solitude Aeternus, Sacrilege (UK) and Candlemass more than anything else. I should mention that while this is a pretty popular niche right now what with acts like Blood Ceremony, Jex Thoth and SubRosa starting to build appreciable audiences, but to their credit Demon Lung sounds little like these acts apart from sharing the same genre. Pareidolia (a perception of an image or a sound in an unexpected or natural environment, like cloud gazing) has a few kinks to work out, but there's undeniably some potential here.
The production seem to favor the guitar highly, and thus it's got this voluptuous tone to it which sort of drowns out the power of the drums and the null, hypnotic voice of Shandra Fredrick. It's not such a huge deal, since she doesn't incorporate a lot of variety or subtlety to her delivery, but then, that's not really her intent here, but to provide this leeching consistency that turns the listener's smile upside down. She's a bit like Sharie Neyland, the new vocalist for The Wounded Kings, with less of a range. Still, it probably wouldn't hurt to turn the axes down just a fraction so we can hear better experience any nuances to the rhythm section and her vocals. Also, I felt like the songs grew more interesting as the EP progressed. "Lament Code" had a lot chugging, some melodic lines and squeals but none of the riffs were all that exemplary. The clean guitars in the bridge of "Sour Ground" provided a great, atmospheric break from the surrounding walls of chords, but it wasn't until the titular closing cut that I felt like the spidery drudge of the guitars, glazes of somber melody and Fredrick's voice came together to create this immense, numbing wasteland of emotion.
I wouldn't say that Demon Lung was necessarily innovating anything here, though they seem to improve wherever they transition from the leaden weight of the guitars to something more tangibly atmospheric. I like that they're so heavily riff-based, but I didn't feel as if the actual note progressions of the metallic rhythms were all that involved, ominous or interesting. That aside, this is an extremely new group, having formed only last year in 2011, and really you could do much worse for an inaugural recording. Once they flesh out their sluggish, muscular skeleton with some more intricate or memorable notation, and tweak the volume knobs ever so slightly to highlight the strengths of all the roster, we could be witnessing the birth of a monolith of ebbing sadness capable of dimming the brazen Las Vegas skyline after dark.