Recklessness Through Noise
There is a sense of lunacy and on-the-border of psychotic tendencies that underlies experimental alternative rock group, Demons. For this Norfolk, Virginia crew’s first LP, Demons use experimental noise and harsh instrumentals to somehow create a cohesive unison of sounds that make Embrace Wolf a debut album to remember.
“(Telebrothy)” mixes the sounds of a Twin Peaks dream sequence, a constant drumbeat, and all over the place guitar tones that don’t even sound tuned at times, to somehow form a poutine of anonymous and unrelated sounds that match together, in some way or another. The experimental noise of Embrace Wolf is prominent immediately through the opener.
“Always Your Own” is the first track with vocals and it is not nearly as experimental, but keeps an interesting enough alternative rock basis that is reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age combined with the vocals of Rise Against. The track builds up to a guitar riff that feels almost breakdown-like, with post-hardcore influence, as the lyricist screams “fuck” to emphasize the gritty aspect of Demons.
“Dig” is a seven-minute masterpiece. It truly feels like this instruments are out of tune, but it makes the anxiety raising sound that much more emphasized. The lack of guitar during verses is not a problem on “Dig,” as the reverb is enough to carry the harsh screams, from vocalist Chris Mathews, along with the drums and deep bass making this track as haunting as any other on Embrace Wolf. Around the three-and-a-half minute mark on the song, the track takes a turn towards the mysterious, as the guitars go on their own voyage of an out of tune solo that builds to a peak climax of thrashing riffs we have already heard.
“Decibel Farmer” takes the harsh reverb and dubs over the voice of an almost devil-like sounding politician talking about capitalism. The deep tone and drone robot-like aspect of his voice makes the track stick out compared to the rest of Embrace Wolf, but just as unsettling as the rest.
“17:9” is the catchiest song on Embrace Wolf. Its guitar riff is so infectious that it is hard to not to be impressed and although it is for sure a symbolic outlier among Demons work. Its key qualities are enough to make any fan of alternative rock see this song as a great track and even a great option for a single.
It’s difficult not to be slightly disturbed with Embrace Wolf. It’s brash ugliness still comes off as powerful. It is the car crash you can’t keep your eyes off of, but at the same time, you enjoy the beautiful disaster that occurs. Demons certainly live up to their group name, that is for sure.