Demonic Death Judge’s (DDJ) third full-length studio album, Seaweed, takes no prisoners upon their descent. Once you enter their depths, the Taxbear will find you. Should you fancy the pleasures of stoner/doom/sludge music, you will find sweet serenity in this tormenting barrage of signature riffing. If not, your mind will surely break upon the pounds of pressure. This track hints an Electric Wizard‘s Dopethrone feel (vocally more aggressive, yet the vocal production is similarly distorted and distant.) DDJ is far from a two-dimensional band mimicking greats of the scene, however – the interlude away from the howling vocals cleverly takes you deep in the ocean with the use of a wah pedal.
Heavy Chase follows through with a solid, classic stoner rock alike Clutch, but are quick to return to the 90s production and tones. Toni Raukola channels a spirit true to the era, riffing and soloing with and around the music; timely emphasising Lauri Piika’s crushing grooves, sticking with Eetu Lehtinen‘s bass, or soloing in an almost Homme fashion (tonally with a wah pedal.) Seaweed showcases DDJ’s substance within the flow of the album, slowly introducing more of their skills while Jakko Heinonen screams of destruction at land and sea by monsters.
The title track Seaweed begins to present a side of DDJ that’s mysterious, starting with an Indian scale-like melody then launching into riffs towards a Truckerfighters progression with sustaining wah-pedal bends. Heinonen‘s leads are fitting to the songs, always working towards an objective of flow and progression. The song fades out and into Cavity, an almost hey-day Radiohead vibe, where bassist lehtinen works wonders of more progressive, (dare I say) Tool melodies throughout both compositions. What’s most impressive of DDJ’s songwriting is their transitions from experimental and adventurous soundscapes that slide smoothly back into their stoner doom roots.
Backwoods is a powerful mash of Master of Reality and Red Fang, a strong single if there was to be one. A tale of a half naked man going insane in the woods, Backwoods features a classic riff with cowbell combo verse. DDJ returns to their early display of dynamic by utilising the wah pedal to open the track up, but this time on bass. Over a jam-demanding groove, a banjo comes into the fold before the band explode into the verse riff with a quick solo and a howl on vocals.
Pure Cold takes us into a Joseph Merrick direction, but with more to say. Bass and guitar unison are tight on a track filled with riffs harking back to each of the previous tracks, lifting the album into further heights after the middle mark. Saturnday returns to the intro expression of Pure Cold, with riffs almost like a slower Heavy Chase. Peninkulma, the Scandinavian Mile, feels like the march of our fallen seaman walking towards his final destination in his mind, closing an exhilarating album with their atmospheric quality. Lastly leaving us one more riff-laden high.
Released through Suicide Records, out now