Wednesday 25 March 2020

Demonic Death Judge - The Trail (Album Review)

Release date: March 27th 2020. Label: Suicide Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Trail – Tracklisting

1.Cougar Charmer
2.Filthy as Charged 
5.Shapeshifting Serpents 
7.Fountain of Acid
8.Cougar Charmer (Reprise)
9.The Trail
10.We Have to Kill




The Trail is Demonic Death Judge 5th album and it’s quite possibly their most experimental and varied offering to date and that’s saying something about this great band. As DDJ have never been afraid to change musical style of direction whilst remaining in the confinements of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal. This new album changes that slightly by allowing the band to adapt different aspects to their music.

The Trail maybe not as easy or accessible to listen as their past efforts such as Seaweed but it doesn’t make it any less captivating as such. This album still has DDJ’s trademark riffs buried within but allows to be more creative with their music.

Opening song – Cougar Charmer – is more of an Acoustic offering with elements of Americana style melodic rock being played at a slow pace. It’s not the most exciting songs to open the album with but things can change in a heartbeat on this album and they do with the next song.

Second song – Filthy As Charged – is what we come to expect from DDJ with the heavy Progressive Sludge/Stoner sounds with a harsh Doom Metal vibe allowing the band to play a heavier style of music. The band switch things up by adding a more riffier style of music that we haven’t heard before. It’s a good change of pace and shows you as a good indicator this album is going to be way different to what DDJ have released in the past. The trippy Stoner interludes are another cool touch but it’s the heavy sounds that instantly grab your attention and leave you wanting more.

Third song – Hardship – carries on the harsh vocals and Post-Doom based guitar sounds for a song that perfectly drifts from one heavy environment to the net whilst retaining a solid melodic groove. The distorted guitars have an almost Industrial feel to them and DDJ start to add a more commanding presence to their music. Wait till you hear the trippy and experimental guitars towards the end of the song that feel like they quite different to what the band have performed in the past.

Fourth song – Elevation – opens with a 70s Hard Rock riff before the band start laying down their heavy down-tuned Doom/Sludge/Stoner guitar sounds. The atmosphere is less chaotic on this song and has a more organic feel. This is one of my favourite songs on the album with DDJ taking their time on this song and allowing the listener to feel part of the song. The heavy growls are still present but the guitars have a cool Post-Rock melodic flow to them.

There are 10 songs on this album and unfortunately I can’t go through describing everyone. All I can say is the remaining 6 songs are just as good and as challenging as the 4 songs I’ve reviewed here. Demonic Death Judge still play a wide range of different sounds on this album. Some of them are quite challenging at first. As you wouldn’t expect DDJ to go down that route but overall it works and this allows The Trail to perhaps be Demonic Death Judge most creative album to date.

Other cool songs to check out are: Shapeshifting Serpents, Flood, Fountain Of Acid and The Trail. As I feel this is where long time fans will enjoy the most. As they contain the most heaviest grooves on the album and perhaps some of the most recognizable aspects of Demonic Death Judge.

Overall, The Trail is an expertly produced album and one that will keep their fan-base happy for a long time to come. This is another excellent album from Demonic Death Judge and another great addition to their celebrated back catalogue.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Demonic Death Judge and Viral Propaganda PR

The Trail is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Suicide Records from March 27th 2020.