Monday, 12 November 2012

Demonic Death Judge - Skygods (album review)

Demonic Death Judge are a doomy Sludge Band from parts unknown in Finland.  They keep the guitar tone and the funk, ever present, always thick and syrup-y.  The singer rasps and yells in a style that lands in the middle of sludge and death metal.

The name Demonic Death Judge evokes images of an Aztec god of the underworld, one every soul must visit upon death, who sits mockingly in judgement of living action as the soul goes through the seven tortures of hell.  A heavy psychedelic bad trip that easily fits the spirit of 'Skygods'.

Skygods is a journey, like unto death and rebirth.  First off, I normally don't like this style of singing, but the riffs are so badass that I look past it and keep listening.  Then something strange happens.  I begin to hear that the vocals and guitar tone are so evenly matched that it becomes hard to imagine any other combination of the two.  This becomes even more evident on the track "Nemesis" which showcases the band's psychedelic side with ethereal noise wining over a bluesy improv.  The vocalist gets in on the action with dreamlike pleas from the background, sung without death style rasp and matches the guitar tone perfectly, yet again.  Different guitar tone, different style of singing, matched to perfection.  By the time "Pilgrimage" washes in the vocals and guitar are so married in sound that the guitar almost seems to conjure the vocals from the aether and animate the singer like a possessed corpse. It's a symbiotic relationship.  Think moss growing on a rotted log.

The title track features one hell of a riff, slowly ascending, heavy and funky, addicting.  "Salomontaari" continues the heavy funk flow and adds a dynamic of late 60s prog into the mix with strings playing a whimsical, contemplative section.  A bluesy, funky number with multiple guitar leads and wah-bass, the fuzzy verse-chorus keeps this song grounded in reality and focused.  "Latitude" is an ambient bridge from "Salomontaari" to "Knee High", another heavy groove out winner.  "Aqua Hiatus" is slightly slower but keeps the excitement with a terrific riff that writhes like worms through rotted flesh over top steadily crashing symbols.  Towards the end of the track the symbols stop and the soul is propelled further into the psychedelic outer reaches of the underworld, adrift, tether broken, in a cosmos of plucked guitar, only to come crashing back down for another ordeal.  "Cyberprick" picks things back up again with a heavily fuzzed groove out.  The vocals, ever matching the guitar, are at their most aggressive and forceful.  The guitar solo again flows atop a wah bass then crashes back down into a subdued section with a spoken word passage. "Nemesis" plays like the death / rebirth scene in a cosmic drama and serves as the final precursor for epic closer "Pilgrimage".

While listening to this album the soul is adrift in a vacuum of fuzz with starburst symbol crash propulsion.  The whole album flows from one track to the next and is highly focused while still continuing to develop new ideas throughout the deathtrip.

Highlights include: "Skygods" and "Knee High"

Rating: 4/5

Total Run Time: 47:25

From: Finland

Genre: Sludge Metal, Doom, Psychedelic

Reminds me of: Dopethrone, Ichabod, Law of the Tongue

Release Date: October 5, 2012 / (on vinyl) December 15, 2012

Suggested listening activity for fellow non-stoners: Cut the tether from your soul to your body and prepare for your deathrip ordeal in the underworld.

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