Hailing from Austin, Texas and Mexico City, Demons My Friends arrive on the scene with an eight song full length debut album that has been demanding repeated plays. The band describes their sound as stoner/ doom, but the stoner side comes out much more to my ears because I think of super slow and long songs when I think of doom. First song I heard by the band this summer reminded me of an old band from the California desert, but I will get to that in a bit. As metal debuts go, this is one of the best you will hear this year.
Some fuzz introduces us to the powerful ‘The Tower Falls’ and finds the band combining a hard groove with a simple but effective vocal hook at the end of the chorus. Musically, this one isn’t too far away from Pepper-era Corrosion of Conformity, and, while the song stretches out over 5 minutes, it doesn’t feel that long. ‘Bring the Night’ serves as a de-facto title track as it is drawn from the lyrics here. The mellower verses give way to ripping guitars that slice through the mix in the chorus. Increasing the tempo at the guitar solo creates a great sense of dynamics, especially as the song transitions back into its original groove for the outro.
‘Inner Slay’ begins with the bass and some guitar deep in the mix. This is one spot where I can see the doom influence in the band as they don’t rush things too quickly. The rhythm really drives this song with the clean lead vocals and harmonies on the chorus providing us a look back in time a bit when this was more representative of the metal genre, without sounding stale or dated. The band provide lots of opportunities to headbang and throw your fist in the air. ‘Ghosts of You’ is the song I referred to in my introduction which has a guitar tone that reminds me of ‘Sky Valley’ era Kyuss. The guitar riffs wrap around the bass and drums to create a hypnotic groove with this song remaining my favorite on the album so far. The layered vocals in the chorus provide it with a commercial angle but balance it with some aggro vocals there as well.
Kicking off the flipside of the album, ‘Make Them Pay’ provides a vicious riff and groove, while also changing the lead vocal approach to almost an aggressive chant. Lyrically, this song takes no prisoners and comes in as the shortest song on the album at just over 3 minutes. The transition to the final bit of the song again shows a band interested in creating dynamics. The other shorter song follows in ‘Fire Mountain’ with the band sounding more akin to a modern metal band with clean vocals than doom metal. The rhythm section again delivers in providing a pulverizing song that sets up a well-done guitar solo to lead into a final chorus.
Turning up the stoner feel and again tapping into a Corrosion of Conformity like feel, ‘Your Bones’ comes in like a thundering herd but gives way to a verse that puts the spotlight on the vocals. The vocals and feel of the chorus though again serve as a counterpoint with an aggro feel. The band did a great job setting up the running order of the songs here as the album has a natural flow. Final song ‘We are the Resistance’ wraps things up with a mellow introduction and, to me, the most doom inspired song on the album with it reminding me a little bit of Paradise Lost a la ‘One Second’ or ‘Draconian Times’ era. It serves as a great way to finish the album as the song continues to build to its finale.
Hopefully, this album finds its way in front of many listeners so the band can continue to build a following. I hate it when new bands create an excellent album like this and then end up disappearing so give them a listen and a follow if you like what you hear. This album will be in my upper echelon of 2023 metal albums at the end of the year.
‘Demons Seem to Gather’ is available now.
‘Make Them Pay’ video- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84u94nlvVfI
Author: Gerald Stansbury