Demon Head – Viscera
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: 29/01/2021
Running Time: 36:23
Review by Dark Juan
Good afternoon, you smiling hordes of Satanic satyrs and succubi! It is I, Dark Juan, who is still currently in recovery from what could only be described as a joyfully messy online gathering of the good denizens of Team Ever-Metal. Our Liege Lord Sir Richard “What The Fuck Are You Talking About This Time, Juan” Tilley, Statistician Beth “This Wine Is Rank But I’m Still Drinking It” Jones, Sheri “The Gigglefox” Bicheno, Alun “If It’s Liquid I’ll Drink It” Jones, Simon “Look At My Suggestively Named Beer” Black, Wing Commander James “Tally Ho, Bandits At Four o’ Clock” Mealor, Martin “The Sexual Tyrannosaurus” Bennewith, Arturs “Thank Fuck I’m In Canada, The Brits Are Mental” Feists and our resident luchador and Brazilian contingent, Victor “I’m Not Going To Stop Putting Mango In IPA, Despite What That Wanker Dark Juan Says” Augusto had a bit of a gathering. I assume it was a success because my friend Jim Beam has chosen to block any fucking memory of it after 11pm. I hope there was no undressing. However, the long-suffering current Mrs Dark Juan has gleefully informed me that I was shouting incoherently at my tablet and also that, whilst trying to visit the lavatory, I turned on every light in the upstairs of Dark Juan Terrace, told the door off for being (I quote), “A cunt because I kicked it”, bounced off the wall and then (she was ensconced in her eyrie in the attic) there was a loud banging and crashing from the bathroom.
I discovered the next morning that, unaccountably, the towel rail had detached itself from the wall and was lying next to the lavatory. This was a mystery that has proven insoluble.
Anyhow, this has absolutely fuck all to do with what I am supposed to be doing, which is telling you about the latest musical offering I am currently listening to, in my somewhat fragile state. Demon Head are a Danish “demonic rock” band. Immediately I started thinking, “Please don’t be trying to copy Ghost. Please don’t try and copy Ghost because that would just be fucking lazy and an effort to get on the bandwagon that Papa and the ghouls have made their own.”
Demon Head have NOT copied Ghost, and this is indeed a Very Good Thing because they would have immediately earned a low score and my enduring disapprobation and I would not have been very nice about them either, and Dark Juan is all about peace and love. And mescaline. Lots and lots of mescaline. Anyway, Demon Head employ a sound that it somewhat unique and very pleasing to these slightly malformed ears, seeing as they have chosen to create a sound from a melange of doom metal, trad rock and lots and lots of gothic rock in the classic style – think about Paradise Lost,
Fields Of The Nephilim, The Jesus And Mary Chain, “Phantasmagoria” era The Damned, The Mission and the more metal iterations of Coven having a suitably Satanic and mopey orgy with lots of tears in a dingy basement in front of a cheaply moulded and poorly painted plastic statue of Baphomet and you have an idea of their sound. It is actually quite a refreshing noise and owes as much to post-punk as it does to metal. Opening tune ‘Tooth And Nail’ seduces you with swirling, religious sounding keyboards and a classic rock riff of some splendour, before the impassioned vocal of Marcus Feirrera Larsen kicks in and lends the whole thing the post-punk fuelled emotional depth that so much modern gothic music lacks. It is very good indeed, and the song changes forms like a shadowy predator glimpsed through gaps in the mist in the middle of a forest. Marcus reminds me of the 5’10” of unkempt contempt that is The Cure’s Robert Smith at full chat in parts with his deeply impassioned wail.
It is well known that Dark Juan is a bit of a sad old goff, and this record makes me want to go paint my fingernails black, leather on the eyeliner and stay out of the sun and wear long leather trenchcoats and big brimmed hats everywhere. The production on this record is wonderful with a full on 80’s feel and the keyboards and guitars vying for attention throughout in a glorious wall of sound. It’s all spectacularly overblown and I fucking love it. The more I listen, the more and more I hear a classic goth band and less of a metal band, but this should not be counted as a demerit because these Danish miserablists are plenty heavy enough to please a metal audience. The riffs on ‘The Feline Smile’ are rather splendid, as is the solo on the guitar. There are the odd moments of similarity with Ghost, but this is because they operate from a similar love of classic hard rock and heavy metal and therefore the occasional moment can be forgiven. ‘Arrows’ opens with some lovely 12 string acoustic and has an almost psychedelic vibe, with electric guitar cutting in and out of the gorgeous, almost choral vocal and the 12-string enhanced only with staccato stabs of percussion before segueing into ‘Magical Death’ which has the most Ghost-like riff on the record, but it is carried through by Marcus’ howling and the drumming which borders on the sound of industrial, such is the mélange of influences. The guitars, oh the guitars, one of which goes for the throat with a satisfying meaty sound as the second guitar chimes with phaser wah and the keyboards beguile and seduce you with the sad romanticism that all good goff music employs. However, ‘The Lupine Choir’ is a keyboard segment that sounds like it’s been lifted wholesale from a Cradle Of Filth middle eight. Seeing as I am a massive Cradle fan, I’m letting that slide…
‘In Adamantine Chains’ is by far the best song on the record, and is also the one where the curious conjunction of The Cure and Paradise Lost can be heard to best effect, and the whole thing is a glorious and gothic anthem of significant proportion and fuck it, I’m now beguiled and I think I love Demon Head more than chips.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (Det patenterede mørke Juan-blodsplatter-klassificeringssystem) has been frantically rooting in the wardrobe for the 80’s “People’s Republic Of West Yorkshire” Sisters Of Mercy t-shirt and the leather trousers and trenchcoat it knows is in there somewhere and awards Demon Head a supremely gothic and black 10/10. Now, where’s those aviator shades with the black lenses?
TRACKLISTING: (There are some amusing titles…)
01. Tooth And Nail
02. The Feline Smile
04. Magical Death
05. The Lupine Choir (Listen to them, the children of the night. What sweet music they make.)
06. A Long Groaning Descent (Sounds like the last time I got laid.)
07. In Adamantine Chains
08. Black Torches (Light emitters or dark suckers?)
10. The Triumphal Chariot of Antimony (I am somewhat confused. This chariot would be lethal and any warrior riding it, triumphally or otherwise, would soon be dead of heavy metal poisoning. Well, shit. It literally would be the most heavy metal death ever! Heavy metal charioteer killed by heavy metal chariot by heavy metal poisoning. I’ve changed my mind, that’s fucking genius, gentlemen. Fucking genius.)
Mikkel Fuglsang – Bass
Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen – Guitars
Marcus Ferreira Larsen – Vocals
Thor Gjerlufsen Nielsen – Guitars
Jeppe Wittus – Drums
Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.