Album of the year?
Maybe it’s here already in the latest roundup of Vegas releases:
DEMON LUNG, “The Hundreth Name” (demonlungband.com): This is rock ’n’ roll as Ouija board, a doom metal seance that unnerves like that first viewing of “The Shining” with the lights off.
The album begins where others might an end, with an epic nine-minute dirge, “Binding of the Witch,” scented by candles, flesh and brimstone, all burning.
It slowly gathers momentum like an oncoming storm blackening the horizon, with lumbering riffs so heavy, it was as if they were poured from a cement mixer.
But Demon Lung never lingers in one mood too long, picking up the pace on shadowy jams like “Heathen Child” and “A Decade Twice Over a Day,” which is further darkened by some chilling, gooseflesh-inducing organ.
As guitarist Phil Burns balances groove with girth via his muscular yet lissome playing, frontwoman Shanda Frederick sings of undoing creation and summoning Satan in equally haunted and haunting tones.
She’s dolefulness in a dress, capable of exuding menace with but a whisper.
“The Hundreth Name,” which is the band’s full-length debut and first for esteemed metal indie Candlelight Records, will surely go down as one of the best releases of the year from these parts.
And, like gravity exerting its will, it will take you with it.
STOLAS, “Living Creatures” (facebook.com/StolasLV): The song makes you feel like you’re drowning, gasping for air, imperiled, engulfed on all sides.
On “Medusa,” post-hardcore quartet Stolas comes at you all at once, a riot of gymnastic drumming, agitated vocal chords and knifing guitars.
Things simmer down eventually, but it’s a false sense of safety, as the very next tune, “Year of the Light,” opens with double-barrel thrash riffing and an air of indefatigability.
Throughout “Living Creatures,” released earlier in the spring on Blue Swan Records, it’s guitarists Jason Weiche and Sergio Medina who really shine, seemingly out to stake their claim amongst the top six-string tandems in Vegas with their alternately elegant and frenzied playing.
Just listen to the havoc they wreak on “On Our Last Night Earth,” where the guitars come in swelling waves, like high tide crashing ashore.
“I’ve lost my breath,” guest singer Johnny Craig announces on the aptly titled “Panic.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0476.