Demon Eye whip listeners into a frenzy with a series of witchy songs that call to mind the classic era of ‘eavy rock. Sabbath and Purple are obvious touchstones and of course those dirty critters that crawled from Murder City — The Obsessed, that lot — over the years. Doesn’t matter, though, ‘cause the arse kicking we get over the course of these ten (mostly) lean tunes is almost unprecedented in its weightiness. Yeah, a lot of cats have tuned their guitars down lower, made their amps sound sludgier and written lyrics that were more absurd/darker/evil and all that but these guys really mean it.
More than that, the boys have a sense of melody that gets forgotten so often when young lads grow their hair down to their waist, eschew t-shirts and sobriety and turn their amps so loud as to bleed the eyes of God. But sure enough there’s melody in these here parts, like on the boogie-laden epic (at nearly six minutes) “Poison Garden”, wherein we’re transported across the pond to the dank living rooms of Birmingham circa 1970 for some bend-y/squealy guitar lines and the kind of groove that makes young maidens go all bacchanal at the drop of a heavy guitar pick.
It’s like during those warm, warm nights down in Raleigh this quartet has hunkered down and actually meditated on what will make a good song, not just what will be heavy and ooze out the speakers and divide and conquer the hydrogen and oxygen compounds at the bottom of the bong. It’s so well thought-out (but not too well thought-out) that you start to think that maybe getting in tune is far more important here than getting high. Is it? Doesn’t matter. Not when you’ve got cell-splitting stuff like “End of Days”, “I’ll Be Creeping” (presumably not about a pair of bad underwear) and the trotting trot trot of the drums on the closing helicopter blade punch to the head “Son of Man”.
The vocals are eerie, brimming with danger and the tight-as-a-Episcopalian’s-wallet rhythms are enough to send you to the dance floor and starting to shake your unkempt locks like St. Vitus himself has taken over your soul. And “Black Wind” is the kind of power punch that you just won’t find bands trying to pull off when they work this sludgy terrain. Too melodic, too melodic, too sexy, too hook-y, too ready to be heard on the radio and maybe even occasionally appear on the sound system at the hip grocery store late at night after all the squares have gone home and the heads are left to dust and face the shelves.
And won’t you be surprised if one or two of these songs is as catchy as KISS could be on its early albums, although this is still, musically speaking, miles and miles ahead of anywhere Gene, Peter, Ace and Paul and even the replacement guys could ever be. Is this praise stacked high enough? Maybe so. But listening to “Give Up The Ghost”, with its melody and menace you can’t help but wonder what the future might hold for this album. The band will be fine. One way or another, it’ll have its place in history but the question is: will the right people tune into this record and give it a go? Cherish it like an ancient maiden, make it part of the family heirlooms and pass it down to future generations like a well-worn copy of Paranoid or even Rumours? Only time will tell, but methinks that if we are wise we will feast on this sucker for a long time to come.