Concert Review: Demon Lung

Cheyenne Saloon, June 1

At Doom in June III, metalheads stayed for the dozen-plus doom bands from around the country. But they came to see Las Vegas-based Demon Lung (or should have), now with extra beefiness courtesy of new rhythm guitarist Brent Lynch. (Lynch fronts local noise-rock outfit Fat Dukes of Fuck, and his burly beard just screams METAL.) The fest also served as a CD-release event for Lung’s first full-length, The Hundredth Name, on Candlelight. After catching a couple of letdown sets at Bunkhouse, I had begun to doubt the band’s power. But Cheyenne’s sound system and engineer were impeccable, letting the quintet’s hellfire burn brightly, fiercely.

As banks of fog rippled across the stage, singer Shanda Fredrick never looked lovelier or more lethal, a toxic Mormon bride in her Slaughterhouse on the Prairie gown. Fredrick confidently dug into opener “Lament Code,” as Lynch and lead guitarist Phil Burns whipped the song forward like a nightmarishly lurching monster.

Warlock-warring “Hex Mark” came next, its thrashed-up sections inspiring head-banging and devil horns in the crowd. An eerie, out-of-left-field cover of Acid Bath’s “The Blue” arrived, which stirred the clods in front to share bro-metal fist-bumps with Fredrick. But the hairs on my neck stood up again when the pallid songstress disturbingly stage-bantered, “Who here has kids? I’d love to babysit for you.” Then she and the Lung lunged into the first verses of child-sacrifice witch incantation “Heathen Child”: Stripped from the child/The unbaptized fat/Cooked and consumed/The gift of flight. Yikes! A short five-song set that nonetheless left its black spell on me.

Doom in June was already a scorching underground metal festival, but Demon Lung made it hotter. ★★★★☆

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In the closing days of the Spectre at the Feast stateside tour, I was rapt as Robert Levon Been, Peter Hayes and 2008 addition Leah Shapiro dished out the soundtrack for a journey down a dark and thinning trail somewhere in a strange and haunted America. From the keening and dissonant build on “Red Eyes and Tears” that came from somewhere south of despair to Hayes and Been’s venomous slide guitar work on “Ain’t No Easy Way” to the rattlesnake tambourine on “Love Burns,” this trio has the power and chops to bring us to unholy ecstasy.