From Copenhagen comes the band Demon Head, proving that Denmark has more to offer than sausage, beer and a language which is difficult to understand even for fellow Viking descendants. Despite the metal-sounding moniker and a Metal Archives article describing them as “doom metal/hard rock”, Demon Head’s ministrations are not particularly extreme, but rather quite traditional rock music with occult lyrics and some modern flair to boot.
The guitars are just barely distorted – enough to give them edge, but far from the fuzz of more stoner oriented stuff, and any residues of doom lay more in the attitude and atmosphere than in the actual music. The band pumps out tough, slightly sad riffs accompanying vocals that switch between mournful and rocking as they recite densely written, lengthy lyrics.
The basic sound could be compared to several hard rock bands with similar elements, Witchcraft being the most obvious example, even though the production here is distinctly cleaner. That being said, the melodies played and the moods evoked bring some very different stuff to mind as well. 16 Horsepower/Wovenhand would be one obvious reference, even if Demon Head do not have any country influences to speak of. If Sisters of Mercy had gone more for a 70’s influenced hard rock sound, perhaps they could have sounded a bit like this – and at times there is something almost Nick Caveish about the way vocalist Ferreira Larsen thrashes out the words. More far fetched comparisons could be made – for instance, the intro of “Hic Svnt Dracones” sounds very much like the acoustic interludes of Swedish blackened death metal grandfathers Dissection.
In the end, it isn’t about comparisons though, for Demon Head have got something rather unique going on here. The lyrics in particular create a bizarre harmony as they meet the strange combination of melancholy and coolness that constitutes the core of the music. In “Gallow’s Omen” we are told of “Dead persons that never lived/With jaws agape” and the eerie last stanzas of the aforementioned “Hic Svnt Dracones” cryptically asks and preaches at the same time:“Does looking at the sun really bring blindness?/Life is war”.
Anyone looking for old-school hard rock with a doomy, gloomy atmosphere and some great musical ideas will benefit from giving Thunder on the Fields a listen. After having the album spin a couple of rounds, one can only conclude that the final words sung on it have some uncanny credibility: “Music will untune the sky!”
Thunder on the Fields is available from The Sign Records/Freight Train webshop on vinyl and CD.