Many of the influences Copenhagen five-piece Demon Head are working with will seem familiar. Of course there’s Sabbath, Pentagram, etc., and one can identify points of Witchcraft in the production of their Demo 2014, now available as a limited-to-100 purple cassette through Caligari Records, and some of Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats‘ garage-style shuffle, but what the four-track release really showcases from the Danish newcomers is swing. Fast or slow, their riffs wind their way around the listener’s consciousness, and with the bass of Fuglsang and drums of Wittus – middle and last names or initials only, depending on where you look – Demon Head never stray too far from the soul-corrupted boogie that serves them well here as they follow-up 2013′s Chaos Island Rehearsal 2013 with more developed but still raw and doomed rock.
The blown-out croon of Ferreira Larsen recalls ’80s metal conjurations on opener “Undertaker,” but is malleable ultimately to what’s called for by a given song, and his style helps distinguish Demon Head from the Uncle Acid jangle that’s clearly influenced “Undertaker” and shows up on the eponymous closer as well in its oozing, dirt-packed groove. A rough recording plays well on tape — the four-song program repeats on both sides — and Demo 2014 is most definitely a demo, but the songwriting is there and Larsen, Wittus, Fuglsang and the guitarists, both named Nielsen (presumably they’re related), don’t come off as so loose as to be self-indulgent or unaware of where they’re headed. “Ride the Wilderness” seems to be a band mantra, and as the second cut after “Undertaker,” it’s a faster push to set up the Witchcrafty turn to doom of the shorter “333″ (alternately listed as “III” and “Three”), which leaves a mark lyrically and in the crashing lurch that gives way to a satisfying but not grandiose build before a deft slowdown returns to the chorus.
On the European edition, issued by Smokedd Productions with a different cover, “333″ and “Ride the Wilderness” appear to be switched, but the Caligari version serves the overall flow well, the four songs moving smoothly between each other, getting progressively more doomed until “Demon Head” finishes with nod enough to tie everything else together, a bluesy lead in the first half perhaps foreshadowing developing guitar antics that will show up in increased volume next time out. They’ve got more than an ample amount of groove to justify the physical release — the j-card liner folds out to eight panels with art and recording info on one side and lyrics on the other — and as Demo 2014 fades out from its noisy ending, the tape bodes well both for what Demon Head might do and how they might do it. In terms of their overall approach, there’s room to grow into a more individualized take, but as noted, they’ve got the swing down, and that’s already more than an awful lot of bands.