Thursday, July 4, 2013
Night Demon - Night Demon 
Night Demon's entry into my extensive compendium of speed/heavy acts to emerge in the 21st century is nothing of a seminal event, but I was nonetheless content, having discovered another band with a solid release to kill a good many minutes. Formed in 2011, our information on the band is fairly limited, with their sole material being their eponymous EP released last year, and my awareness of the band began when I received a promo of the EP that had been reissued by the traditional heavy/doom imprint Shadow Kingdom Records. The Californians offer nothing more than genre-standard heavy metal enmeshed with a dose of speed, imbued with a strong, refined production quality that renders the four brief tracks found on this EP so robust. ''Night Demon'' is composed of roughly equal proportions of Maiden, Priest, Angel Witch, Raven and Saxon, and maintains its muscular exposition sturdily throughout the entirety of the EP without blundering, but it only does so by swaying along the safer borders of traditional heavy metal.
For one, I was actually more absorbed by the cover art and the conceptual preferences more than the music itself, even though I did sometimes lose myself in the wicked, swirling youth of the headbang-friendly riffs. I don't know why, but I certainly found this fantasy-induced concept to be overly attractive, maybe because it explored a somewhat nostalgic and lightweight margin of swords, sorcery, and, obviously, demons, each song delving into a slightly different subdivision of the concept, for instance, ''The Chalice'' had a more medieval, religious vibe to it, with the exception of ''Ancient Evil'' which purely pervaded the listener with Lovecraftian images. That said, there is a surprising amount of variation between each track, with each track, like the lyrical choices, focusing on marginally different breed of garden variety heavy metal. The sound as a whole is professional however, with little or not flaws in the presentation department, and in truth, while this may not be a paragon of speed/heavy metal, I loved the rumbling twists and turns of the guitars with melody swooshing by every now and then, and the entire webbing of riffs was surprisingly complex, brazen, and certainly very catchy.
While this may be for the most part a devout homage to the aforementioned gods, and even Motorhead taking into account the bluesy rage of the guitars and pummeling blasts of the snare on the first and fianl tracks, I did occasionally taste a sprinkling of power metal in its archetypal forms, something redolent of early Fates Warning and Jag Panzer. The vocals are blunt and powerful, nothing overly special, however, when they collide with the backup vocals to harmonize a truly harmonic piece of sound that I thoroughly enjoy is created. Night Demon certainly performed well on this EP, especially since it's their debut offering, but I do think that solely being staunch stalwarts of the art won't quite make them experts in this particular field of heavy metal. There were some subtler, heavier moments that arose with minute precaution into something of a more epic deliverance, like on the chorus of ''The Chalice'' (which I adored), but the Californians need to strew together many more strings to render the web truly inventive and titillating. Night Demon resonate like a faster answer to their fellow countrymen Visigoth; it's coherent, consistent and quite seamless in its presentation, but lacks an inner essence. Otherwise, it's simple, awesome music for purists. Hail.