Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Class of 2013: Head of the Demon - Head of the Demon

Not much is known about Head of the Demon.  They're Swedish, and they're clearly influenced by Black Sabbath and traditional doom bands from decades past. 

The group's self-titled debut starts off with "By Titan Hand," and when the vocals kick in, the element of surprise rears its demon head.  Based on the music, I was expecting a singer with some pipes and range.  Instead, we get much more interesting vocals.  There's even whispering and what sounds like backing female vocals on "They Lie in Wait - Riding the Waste," one of the standout tracks.

Repetition is a musical trend throughout Head of the Demon.  For example, the recurrent guitar part in "Phantasmagoria" is super catchy (more so than any of the vocals) and highly effective. 

"The Man from Foreign Land" almost has a 90's indie-rock feel when there aren't any vocals.  It brings to mind releases from Touch and Go/Quarterstick Records during the label's heyday.

If you're looking for something a little more spooky, then proceed to "The Key."  It begins with an eery-sounding organ that gives way to spoken vocals that even include some brief laughing.

The record ends with "Fifth House of the Mausoleum" and "Wraith from the Unknown," and it's not until the final track that I notice the drums standing out a bit.  It's a nice touch and one that I hope is explored in future recordings.

Head of the Demon is a collection of songs that may require a few listens to fully appreciate.  Although some of its tracks feel a little long (there are 7 songs in 51 minutes), this record is definitely worth your time.

Grade: B  (84.9%)

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