Friday, June 14, 2024

Through Holes Shine The Stars  with Demon Head

Having celebrated their tenth anniversary as a band last year, this year Demon Head will issue their fifth full-length album, Through Holes Shine The Stars on 20 September via Svart Records.

Described as a deeper, darker well of tones and melodies than before, while being significantly more extroverted than their last releases, bassist Mikkel Fuglsang reflected on the creative leap between this new material and their previous efforts: “Our first four records can be seen as the pillars creating a structure in order to reach the new level that this undoubtedly is for us.”

The eight songs were written collectively during several concentrated sessions from 2019–2022 and recorded entirely by the band themselves from October 2022 to March 2023 in their own studios in Copenhagen and the west coast of Ireland. Guitarist, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist producer, Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen expanded on this, commenting: “This long and careful process has allowed us to reach a balance between structural precision and artistic expansion, melodic simplicity, and compositional depth. It feels like we’ve uncovered every possibility within each of these songs without losing track of the original nerve.” 

In continuation of previous collaborations, Demon Head has mixed the album with engineer and producer Flemming Rasmussen (Metallica, Morbid Angel, Ensiferum etc.) in Sweet Silence Studios. Vocalist and recording engineer Marcus Ferreira Larsen remarked: “Like any true master Flemming has created a direct and hard-hitting, transparent mix that does nothing but enhance what is already communicated in the compositions and the performance. He helped us place everything in the landscape that we’ve carved through recording everything ourselves once again.”

With a running time of 47 minutes, this is Demon Head’s most extensive work to date. Birk Gjerlufsen Nielsen commented on one of the songs: “’The Chalice’ opens with a discordant anthem that unbelievably enough combines the qualities of late Scott Walker with Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’. It’s a good introduction to how Marcus and I have worked closely together on complimenting each other’s voices. It’s consistent that we sing together throughout the whole record. Between the two of us there’s a balance of equal parts raw charm and melodic desperation”.

Nielsen continued: “Songs like ‘Our Winged Mother’ and ‘Every Flatworm’ move effortlessly through heavy riffs, woodwind arrangements and tape-manipulated percussion sections that certainly pays homage to Conrad Schnitzler’s work on ‘Silvester Anfang’ of Mayhem’s Death Crush

“Birks excellently executed – and frankly, wild – singing is humble but devastating in its emotion, and this voice finally takes a more front-stage place on this record”, Marcus Ferreira Larsen added. 

On the lyrical front, ‘Through Holes Shine the Stars’ is also said to be a leap forward, as the lyrics are both more immediate and more poetic, reading like short stories but wrought out with a nerve that leaves no doubt as to the meanings these carry for the singers and the band. It seems that they could all take place tomorrow or in the distant future or past. The threads that emerge from the stories weave through moments of explosion, moments of grief, existential despair, and faint but adamantine hope. 

The musical narrative ends with the two lengthy cuts ‘Frost’ and ‘This Vessel Is Willing’. Nielsen said: “’Frost’ is a many-faced exploration of known textures. It’s almost a celebration of the rhythmic music that’s inspired us through the years. It culminates in an epic double guitar solo between Anders M. Jørgensen (Slaegt, Scimitar) and – on this rare occasion – me. ‘This Vessel Is Willing’ is sort of an epilogue if you will. The composition is part improvisation, part rearranged collage work of a blown-out and late-night session we had with Adam CCsquele from Slaegt (and a thousand other projects) on drums. A friend of ours, Jim Slade, joined on bass clarinet and my brother Thor picked up some detuned guitar and used a bow on it. I took the whole thing back to Ireland and supported the dynamics with different tape-manipulation techniques and woodwind arrangements. Marcus’ vocals are pure prophetic desperation, and I think you can hear how it physically hurt him to strain to the extremes he went through in this performance”. 

This unearthly conclusion makes it clear that the determined musical exploration that Demon Head have practiced since the very beginning is not yet over but might suggest that a new era has begun. Vocalist and lyricist Marcus Ferreira said of the collective drive behind the work on this record: “These eight new songs are like a prism of despair through which we try to convey a state of liminality, where moments of faint hope urgency rub shoulders with bursts of surreal and playful absurdity, all cast against the background of despair as void as the night sky through which these stars shine”.

Demon Head’s forthcoming fifth album Through Holes Shine the Stars will be released 20th September on black and limited trans-violet and blue/turquoise vinyl editions, plus CD and C-cassette formats. Pre-sale has started today on Svart Records webstore worldwide. It can be ordered by clicking here.

 Out now is the single ‘Every Flatworm’ available here.

Paul H Birch
Paul H Birch
RAMzine Senior Writer - Writer of fiction, faction and fact, has edited several newsstand magazines. He declares himself a hack for hire but refuses to compromise on the subject of music.

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