May 6, 2024

It is an interesting phenomenon how perceptions change and are influenced a lot when put in context. British hard rock veterans Demon are a very good example. On the one hand, you have the band name, the music on their first two albums and the album artwork and lyrics, which put them firmly in the more melodic specter of the NWOBHM movement and, on the other, you have all of their following twelve albums, which have almost nothing in common with metal. This is one of the factors which I think harmed the band in the long run putting them in the wrong “framebox” and targeting the wrong customers in the music stores’ shelves.

Demon’s fourteenth full length album Invincible comes out eight years after the last studio effort and is the first one released by their new label Frontiers Music. Vocalist Dave Hill has been the only original member for at least two decades now, with the other longest serving band member being drummer Neil Ogden, but it would be fair to say Dave’s emotional and dark melodic voice has been a Demon trademark since day one. Invincible follows the path of the Brits’ last two albums, offering melodic hard rock, or a more gritty take on AOR, if you prefer. The opening song In My Blood and first single Face The Master are exemplary in that approach, Hill’s vocals adding a touch of individuality over some unspectacular melodies and riffs. It’s a “been there, heard it already” feeling that dominates the majority of the album, with only a few songs making particular impression. One such song is the heavier and powerful Beyond The Darkside, which wins with a more memorable melody and chorus and is just a better song, simple as that. Hole In The Sky is also a winner with its punchy main riff and the title track finally perfects the formula of melodic hard rock with a touch of epicness and a middle-eastern feel in the guitar harmonies. Cradle To The Grave is passable hard rock with no teeth, while Breaking The Silence is just the opposite and an example how well the band sound when they have the good riff up their sleeve. Even the bland chorus can’t ruin this great song, which is probably the best in the album. The closing semi-ballad Forever Seventeen is sadly unimpressive once again, joining the majority of the other songs which fail to make you play them again and again.

It’s a shame, because Dave Hill is a unique frontman, a very charismatic singer with a beautiful timbre and a commanding presence, but Demon in 2024 just don’t have enough good songs to even come close to the quality of bands like The Night Flight Orchestra or H.E.A.T., for example. The name in itself will attract more than a few curious listeners but does anyone doubt that the first two albums will still be the ones to form 60 percent of the setlist? Anyway, with four above-average songs, Invincible will hardly leave a mark this year.

5/10


Demon in Facebook

Invincible will be out on May 17th via Frontiers Music and can be pre-ordered from HERE