Since metal rivals electronic music for subgenre count, we decided it was time to get schooled. So with Demon Lung’s first full-length album, The Hundredth Name, coming out next month on Candlelight Records, we got drummer Jeremy Benton and singer Shanda Fredrick of the Vegas-based act to give us a brief tutorial on what it means to make doom metal.
ON DEFINING DOOM
Benton: Doom’s hard to define. It’s the basics of heavy metal, and mixed with the horror imagery of films and occult satanic stuff. It’s typically slow. The riffs are usually very memorable, but also not too difficult to play. A lot of stuff that gets labeled doom now, especially, tends to be kind of bluesy.
ON WRITING THE SONGS
Benton: There’s certain riffs that to me sound like doom riffs. It’s a single riff, it’s half-step intervals and the song itself is super-depressing. It has a repetitive drone to it. The production is a big part of it, too. We recoded [Hundredth Name] all to tape, using analog gear as much as possible. We recorded everything to tape. We did it on a board from 1979; it’s not that super-tight production. That isn’t used in doom. There’s a lot of feedback and open space.
ON A DEEPER LEVEL
Fredrick: Doom is sort of an attitude. Subject matter has something to do with it. It’s death and despair and the occult. And you create this feeling of emotional despair with the music. Which sounds like we’re the most depressing people ever.
ON DEPRESSING MUSIC FOR HAPPY PEOPLE
Fredrick: For me, I’m a huge movie buff. Jeremy and I will take a whole weekend and watch horror movie after [horror] movie. Because metal itself is not the happiest music. When the subject matter goes positive, it doesn’t feel cool and heavy.
Benton: I’m into ’70s occult horror films, and the music goes along with that. A lot of those late ’70s, early ’80s exploitation films, doom goes hand in hand with that stuff to me.
ON THE HUNDREDTH NAME
Benton: The Hundredth Name is a concept album about the movie Warlock. If you watch the movie, if you’ve just seen it once, when we mention it, the first response is “Holy shit, that’s hilarious.” But if you really think about it, the storyline is insanely heavy. MAX PLENKE
Fredrick: We find joy in despair and horror, that’s what makes us happy, which I guess is hard to understand for people who are skeeved out by that kind of stuff. For me, as a woman, the biggest misconception is that guys weren’t gonna like me, or think we were heavy, that it’s just chick metal. But I haven’t encountered that. Metal has been really welcoming.
DEMON LUNG With Cauldron, Desecrate, others, Thursday, May 9, 8 p.m.; Cheyenne Saloon, 3103 N. Rancho Drive, 645-4139, $7