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Head of the Demon - "Head of the Demon" (CD)

Head of the Demon - "Head of the Demon" CD cover image

"Head of the Demon" track listing:

1. By Titan Hand (6:30)
2. The Lie In Wait - Riding The Waste (9:22)
3. Phantasmagoria (5:48)
4. The Man From Foreign Land (6:51)
5. The Key (6:22)
6. Fifth House Of The Mausoleum (8:18)
7. Wraith From The Unknown (7:54)

Reviewed by on March 30, 2013

"If you like your doom to be old-school, your metal to be mysterious and hazy, and your gods to dead and dreaming until the stars are right, 'Head of the Demon' has what you are looking for."

The Great Old Ones have finally arisen, and they aren’t just distorting space with their wickedness, but also time. Listening to Head of the Demon is a sure-fire method of unholy time travel, as a listener is drawn into another era before metal was segregated out into myriad sub-genres. It’s Lovecraftian and evil, it’s doomy and atmospheric, and it’s heavy even when moving in slow motion; in other words, this self-titled album is just simply “metal.”

The mysterious Swedes making up the band are definitely working through a sound from a previous age of music. It’s metal in an early, proto sense - big and grandiose, working the silent spaces between the guitar chords like a more polished version of Czech act Root. There’s nothing technical or fast about these tracks, and a single idea or riff is always brought up repeatedly throughout a song. The vocal work has been compared to that of Tom G. Warrior, but it also sounds quite a bit like early Therion (think the “Symphony Masses” era).

Much of the album has a hazy ‘70s movie vibe to it, especially “The Key,” with its Gothic organ playing. It wouldn’t be hard to picture these tracks being played over “The Dunwich Horror” or some other cult horror flick about secret cultists and things from beyond. That being said, the songs are a bit longer than they really need to be, so there is some drag and down time. Combined with the overall simplicity of the music, that may be a deal breaker for metal fans who need something more consistently extreme or aggressive.

If you like your doom to be old-school, your metal to be mysterious and hazy, and your gods to dead and dreaming until the stars are right, “Head of the Demon” has what you are looking for. Retro metal lovers are in for a treat with this release.

Highs: Cool 70's horror movie vibe, and an overall interesting take on old-school doom metal

Lows: It's a bit slow moving and the songs are quite long

Bottom line: Metal from another era is summoned from the void for this hazy, doomy romp through Lovecraftian hymns.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)