demon-lung-a-draculaThis 2nd full-length release from Las Vegas doom merchants Demon Lung, is based on the cult 1975 horror flick by Juan Moctezuma, ‘Alucarda’.

Although the movie has it’s fair share of nudity, blood and screaming, it’s still a bit of a patience-tester, but Demon Lung seem to like it enough to make it the theme of their new album ‘A Dracula’ (see what they did). And who can blame them. Despite the film making about as much sense as a piece of 70’s Mexican exploitation should, the ingredients make perfect fodder for an effective slice of doom metal.

An orphan called Justine falls under the spell of a young witch called Alucarda in a catholic monastery, and the pair indulge in sorcery and make a pact with the Devil. Death, fire, and bloody resurrection ensues.

Musically speaking, (apart from the lilting acoustic instrumentals of ‘Rursumque Alacarda’ and ‘Rursumque Adracula’) this translates as 6 tracks of moody, chugging doom. The riffs supplied by Phil Burns are full of drama and intensity which vary in tempo, from dominant mid-pace, to crawling lethargy, to upbeat groove. With the mid-section of ‘Gypsy Curse’ being a particular highlight.

The vocals are good too. Shanda Fredrick’s tone suits the music perfectly, and her voice is full of power and passion throughout, especially with the glorious refrain of “You worship death, I worship life” in ‘Deny the Savior’. The softer style works well in ‘Mark of Jubilee’, and in ‘Raped by the Serpent’ the vocals are actually pretty catchy, as the many guitar textures weave their spell.

There’s a lot going on in this album that may not be too apparent at first. Background incantations and hints of keyboard swirl that are masked (or heightened, depending on your mood) by a rather claustrophobic production from Billy Anderson (Neurosis, High On Fire, Eyehategod). But certainly, with this album, more listens start to bear more fruit, and ultimately spending 45 minutes listening to ‘A Dracula’ is preferable to spending 75 minutes watching ‘Alucarda’.

(6.5/10 Stuart Carroll)