As the final plundering heavy note of the Pareidolia EP from Las Vegas doom metal band Demon Lung left the ear in silence there was a ringing, a stark feel of emptiness, and an overpowering need to feel the consumptive mass of the release again. That is the sign of something formidable and rather pleasing that has just violated the flesh, mind, and senses. It is fair to say that the four track EP is not throbbing with anything startlingly new or blatantly original but there is something deeply mesmeric and openly hypnotic about it that makes it one of the more satisfying debuts to emerge so far this year in any genre.
Formed in 2010 the female fronted outfit consisting of vocalist Shanda Fredrick, bassist Patrick Warren , drummer Jeremy Brenton and guitarist Phil Burns (both ex-Dunwich) took no time in making a mark and creating attention with their doom metal inspired by the likes of Candlemass, Black Sabbath, and Coven and infused with horror imagery and lyrics. Upon its formation the band immediately demoed over 20 songs four of which make up the EP, and from their debut gig in March 2011 set themselves as the top doom act in the Las Vegas scene. Their sharing of stages with doom heavyweights like High on Fire, Jucifer, and Pentagram has only gone to cement and raise their stock, something that Pareidolia can only further accelerate.
The release swarms all over the senses from its opening notes, its prowling lumbering mass veined with some ear catching melodic asides and acidic creativity which do not leap out of the oppressive swamp of sound but spark within the hefty mass. The vocals of Fredrick are very impressive, heavily influenced by her idol Jinx Dawson of Coven she has a captivation and siren like charm which pulls one eagerly into the sprawling sludge of riffs and sound. Her style actually brings thoughts and spicery of L7 and early Siouxsie & The Banshees to the songs to bring a distinct and intriguing element that is new and different to other same genre bands.
Lament Code opens up the EP and immediately catches the ear with acute and winding grooves that can only inspire closer attention. The riffs chug with an honest directness and craft which leads one further into the black depths of the song and to the waiting mesmeric vocals of Fredrick. She is like the alluring witch of old horror films, her vocals swaying, teasing, and casting a spell on the ear, her sirenesque charms masking the evil within. The song is a strong introduction to the EP and an instant indicator that Demon Lung is a band to watch very closely ahead.
Second song Sour Ground is a more reserved song which explores a melodic and slightly progressive path with elements of the likes of Blood Ceremony tinting the creative twists within the song. The track though not as infectious as the first engages with a different imaginative feel that shows the band are already thoughtful in their songwriting whilst offering immense promise for far greater things in the future.
The release is completed by Death Mask and the title track. The first is another that crawls and lurches with a hungry and persistent menace without ever going for the throat. The riffs gnaw and scrape emotions whilst the vocals taunt with a confidence and knowledge of the power they hold over the crumbling senses before them. Again there is nothing openly new being brought forward but it is thoroughly fascinating and near irresistible. The closing Pareidolia finishes up as the opener started by numbing responses and emotions with deliberate and venomous plodding violation. The song is the best on the release a consumption that one openly welcomes. The track brought thoughts of 80’s German band X-Mal Deutschland, another non metal band which shows the flavoursome feel to the music.
The production on the EP is not the most complimentary to the sound, the power of the drums has been distilled to being just there and no more whilst there is also an overall mugginess which blurs the naturally thick texture of the music, but nothing a better production cannot remedy. The fact is Pareidolia is a great release, a very strong debut, and Demon Lung a definite emerging force.