NWOBHM WEDNESDAY: DEMON
Demon are another classic British metal band that was formed right about when the N.W.O.B.H.M. scene was really taking off. Formed in 1979 and calling Leek, Staffordshire their home this interesting act would release their first single, "Liar" the following year. In 1981 the band would issue another single, "One Helluva Night", before they released the timeless "Night Of The Demon" (check out the awesome cover that speaks volumes about the crunchy hard rock/heavy metal inside!) and, from that moment on, would go on to become one of those bands where you never quite knew what to expect. Pretty much, since day one really, the band has been lead by lyricist/vocalist Dave Hill. He has been the only consistent aspect to Demon and their sound. Without taking away anything from other singers of the era the one thing that would set Demon apart was in fact Dave and his clean singing voice. If anything Dave Hill almost sounds as if he should be fronting a classic rock band rather then a heavy metal outfit. Whatever the case his voice help set Demon apart. The other thing that helped set the band apart was the the emphasis on actual song structures and creativity. For the casual listener out there Demon's first three albums are all good, but very different. "Night Of The Demon" is a classic N.W.O.B.H.M. release that features a slight hint at the more mainstream song-writing approach that Demon would soon take. "Don’t Break the Circle" (arguably the band's most well-known number) came off of the group's sophomore release, 1982's "The Unexpected Guest", an album that saw the band move into more of a commercial sound. Slightly more slick then "Night Of The Demon" the album is nonetheless just as powerful and hard-hitting. The song writing improved and the band adopted a cleaner sound without losing any of the hard rock/traditional heavy metal that made Demon so appealing to begin with. Out of nowhere though the band's third release, "The Plague" (1983), took a wide turn and ventured into this weird progressive rock world. While there is some heavy metal and the album it is buried behind sound effects and keyboards. It's almost as if the band (Dave Hill that is) decided to lock himself in a room with nothing but 70's prog-rock albums to keep himself company and then, once he entered the studio to lay this other-worldly album to tape, he took a look at what Killing Joke were doing and said "hey, I could clean that up, add it to my prog-rock obsession, and then create an album that defies logic and yet will leave people thinking that Demon made a pact with the devil to get it all sounding this great!". How else do you explain "The Plague"? It is Demon and yet it isn't. For some reason it works and creates the third album in a row for Demon that you could fully get behind. After that Demon continued on and, although success has eluded them on the world-wide stage, they are still at it to this day with a new album supposedly due for release soon. I'm tempted, at times, to include Demon in with the greats of the movement if only for the first two albums which define British heavy metal. What stops me is the fact that they never really made it up over that hill so to speak. Still, for those into quality hard rock/heavy metal the group's first two albums are too good to pass up.