Album Review: Demon Head – Viscera

Demon Head

Album Review: Demon Head - Viscera
Reviewed by Paul Hutchings

Having been hesitant to label their music, the collaboration known as Demon Head eventually settled on the term ‘diabolic rock’ although most would label them occult or doom in style. Whatever label you feel is most appropriate to place on the Danish based outfit, their fourth album ‘Viscera’ presents more complexity than you may expect from the band’s name.

Their most recent record, ‘Hellfire Ocean Void’ was released in 2019. ‘Viscera’ was recorded during the first months of 2020 between the legendary Sweet Silence Studios by Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica, Morbid Angel, Rainbow) and a remote country house in Sweden and mixed by Martin 'Konie' Ehrencrona (In Solitude, Tribulation, Nifelheim). It’s unsurprising then that the music here benefits from a crystal-clear sound, the intricacies of the band’s sound weave seductively around the listener.

Album Review: Demon Head - Viscera

Unafraid to mix old and new techniques, Demon Head utilise a wide range of instruments, from the acoustic to the sonically disabling. Combining mellotron, brass and church organ with the more expected, it is at times an intricate soundscape that takes some unpicking. ‘The Feline Smile’ for example, has multiple layers, the captivating and haunting falsetto of Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen in harmony with the desperate words of vocalist Marcus Ferreira Larsen.

The album is segmented by a series of shorter, sub-two minute industrial blended with psychedelic snippets which echo Floyd circa 1969. The band are clearly unafraid of experimentation, the uncomfortable down tuned ‘Magical Death’, all challenging angles, and harrowing vocals.

There is no doubt that Demon Head can rock out. ‘In Adamantine Chains’ is propelled by the pounding bass lines of Larsen, the gothic overtones drifting throughout the track in a ghostly melancholic way, the melody bursting forth, the interplay of guitarists Nielsen and his brother Thor Gjerlufsen spectacular and uplifting. Yet it’s when they are at their most dramatic and disturbing that they hit their peak. Nowhere is this more clearly evidenced than on closing track ‘The Triumphant Chariot of Antimony’, where mellotron, brass and drums combine in a dramatic conclusion.

‘Viscera’ isn’t an album that grabs you instantly but put the work in and the rewards are there. Repeated plays should have you warming to it, despite its rather chilling exterior.

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