Hailing from Kotka – Finland, fuzzy-riff monsters Demonic Death Judge have been stirring the sludge/stoner-rock waters for a while now. Having already released three full-length albums as well as a bunch of smaller releases and touring around Europe, the Finns have been quite active over the last eleven years, securing a strong reputation as one of the most promising European sludge-rock groups around.
Via Suicide Records, on March 27th 2020 Demonic Death Judge returned with their fourth full length album entitled ‘The Trail’.
The ambient and relaxing acoustic guitar strumming of Cougar Charmer certainly won’t prepare you for the sludgy groove that follows with Filthy As Charged. Emerging from the shadows with some downright sexy and thick riffs, this is where the body is compelled to move. Sending electricity throughout, it’s not just Demonic Death Judge that comes to life here.
Keeping things dirty and low with Hardship, there is a bit more expansion to the band’s sound here. Before Elevation’s brief bit of chill is swapped out for something with some serious meat to the bones. Easily getting the interest up and then keeping it high, the rock heavyweight moments mixed with wicked heavier smashes is so enjoyable. Shapeshifting Serpents and Flood hitting heights not seen on the album so far.
Taking a bit of a psychedelic and trippy breather with Fountain of Acid, Demonic Death Judge ramp up the oddities. Following that with another step into the relaxing strumming acoustic sound they portrayed at the start with a Reprise of Cougar Charmer.
You’ll need the break because the title track arrives next and with it nearly 9 minutes of hard-hitting riffs, deep sludgy groove and filthy heaviness. Demonic Death Judge at their most intense but also their most expansive. There’s a lot of depth to this track and it really could have been the album closer.
That comes in the form of We Have to Kill though. A more ‘straight-forward’ finale when compared to what came previously. However, it’s far from lacking in quality as the band deliver another head-banger.
Demonic Death Judge – The Trail Full Track Listing:
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
Demonic Death Judge - The Trail (Suicide Records)
The Final Score - 9/10