Album Review: The Red Coil – Himalayan Demons

After a five year hiatus, Italian doom rockers The Red Coil have returned with their second full length album, Himalayan Demons, dropping earlier this month. The quintet have come a long way since Lam, with Himalayan Demons managing to come across as a tighter, more diverse, and generally more groovy sounding album as a whole. The time away from the studio has clearly benefited the group, as they have produced something which manages to stand head and shoulders above that which surrounds them.

Put your best foot forward, as the saying goes, something which The Red Coil have clearly taken note of, as introductory track “Withdrawal Syndrome Wall” acts as the topic sentence for Himalayan Demons, letting listeners know what they are in for from the word go. Wasting no time in gently breaking in the audience, “Withdrawal Syndrome Wall” erupts into being with a fierce roar, a collection of every instrument joining as one and playing in unity as a way of drawing as much attention to itself as possible. It certainly managed to get my attention, anyway. What follows is what can only be described as a classic example of stoner rock. The throaty vocals are not quite screams, though definitely harsh enough to carry over the down-tuned, crunchy guitar riffs and booming drumbeats.

Before you jump to the assumption that the entire album will follow much in suit to this initial track, just remember that to assume is to make an ass out of you and me. While Himalayan Demons is a doom/stoner metal album through and through, that does not go to say that every track is a carbon copy of another, far from that in fact. “Oriental Lodge” opens with a bizarre jazz/funk-esque guitar solo, sounding like something from a Red Hot Chili Peppers’ album. The riff raises its beastly head at various points throughout the track, arriving when least expected, adding flourishes of levity through an otherwise colossally weighty track. A special mention must go to the deliciously funky clean descending riff which appears in the middle of the track, arriving out of nowhere, and disappearing just as quickly. It alone is enough to keep listeners on their toes, placed there as if to catch you off guard.

Remember when I mentioned that Himalayan Demons is a surprisingly groovy album? That wasn’t just talk, something which becomes obvious to listeners when they are faced with the funky wildness that lurks within both “The Shroud” and “Moksha”, each of which having bass riffs which ring loud and proud, seamlessly moving to the forefront of the track, soon becoming the focal point for the entire song. These riffs are reminiscent of the likes of Obscura or Quo Vardis, with the frettless style adding a real ‘oomph’ feeling, something which cannot be put in to words accurately. This alone is more than enough to set The Red Coil apart from that which surrounds them within the doom metal scene. Could The Red Coil be the world’s first doom-funk metal band? Quite possibly, though there are no complaints from this reviewer.

Himalayan Demons might appear to the uninitiated as being simply another hard and heavy doomish rock album, though that is not the case at all. The album hides a plethora of tasty treats within its tracks, edging the listener on, pushing them to delve deeper to find all of the unique moments of brilliance which The Red Coil have expertly woven in to Himalayan Demons. More than just a stoner/doom metal album, Himalayan Demons is alternative rock at its finest, and is something of a special album.

Oh, and did I mention that there is a cover of “When The Levee Breaks” on the album too? That alone should merit a listen. Go and grace your earholes with this magnificent piece of angry rock as soon as you can; you can thank me later.

Himalayan Demons is out and available to buy now.

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