Did you ever listen to Lord Sutch & Heavy Friends, the widely-hailed stink bomb of a record? It’s not truly abysmal, just a badly recorded collection of jams which clearly weren’t expected to be released ‘as is’ by the selected heavy friends (Jimmy Page, Noel Redding and others) on the album. Just for extra sparkle, Sutch names them all in big letters on the front of the sleeve, very much the 1970 equivalent of revenge sex. Cracking photo of the Lord with his union flag-decorated Rolls Royce on too. Marvellous. However, I digress.
With a name like Destroyer of Light it is imperative you have no concerns whatsoever as to what the mass populace might think of you. “I’m off to see Destroyer of Light tonight” is not a sentence batted around supermarket car parks that often. Thankfully, such is the case, D.O.L’s modus operandi being as bullishly daft, yet knowingly controlled, as to evoke thoughts of Pentagram, both in theme and content. The band are doomy, bordering on sludgy, but the clarity of the vocals makes for a far more satisfying listen than the trend for the huffing and puffing of many a metal band, all thoughts towards sound levels and their inner anguish with scarcely a thought for being, well, entertaining.
Horror plays a key role in all the tracks, most overtly in The Virgin, which opens with dialogue culled from the superbly over-wrought 1973 film, Satan’s School for Girls. Unlike the TV film, the track has decidedly more cinematic scope, threads of oozing guitar breached by bellowed proclamations but with some really admirable harmonies. There’s something genuinely impressive by the way the song ends, the feedback from the guitar stopping almost as if it had run out of breath – no angular cuts or guitar pedal-preening, just a refreshing understanding of what they intended to make the track sound like and how to leave you feeling afterwards.
The change of pace when Twilight Procession comes around is rather too jarring. Brave in the decision to feature a largely solo guitar ‘emoting’ and brushed drums but adding too little to the atmosphere already created and leaving you to somewhat start again by track 5 of an only 7 track album. Common sense prevails on Lux Crusher, with flagrant Sabbath chugging and squirming malevolence, hobbled only by a studio setting, the prowling feeling a little too concerned as to whether it’ll all fit on vinyl or not – a curse of the current beatification of the format.
The album concludes with Buried Alive, perhaps an attempt to leave the listener with a lasting impression of their full spectrum of sounds, veering as it does from anthemic thumping to drop-dead doom grunting. Spanning over ten minutes, it shows the band as being full of confidence and a good way up the ladder in terms of musical proficiency. If stoner rock has a habit of simply working on the notion of finding a riff and wringing every last drop out of it, then this is far from that pigeonhole. 70’s-influenced, yes, but these are musicians who haven’t just heard a lot of music and seen a few obscure films, these are folk who actually listen and take in their influences over a period of time. The pointers are there but twisted enough to become a form of their own.