Night of the Demon

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Night of the Demon Review

by Eduardo Rivadavia

As its over-the-top intro, "Full Moon," sets an ominous tone with piercing screams, guttural croaks, and insistent chants to "rise! rise! rise!" Demon's 1981 debut album, Night of the Demon, promises to deliver a single-mindedly "metallic" example of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal style. And so do the ensuing title track and the brilliant "Into the Nightmare," which, despite offering surprisingly singalong choruses and Thin Lizzy-like melodic guitar lines, hardly fall far from the heavy metal family tree, either. But once they get past these misleading opening salvos, listeners will be surprised to discover that Demon were actually far more indebted to blue-collar, '70s English hard rock than Black Sabbath or any of their NWOBHM peers. Indeed, while the similarly intentioned (yet far more successful) Def Leppard borrowed liberally from the Sweet to craft their tightly bound guitar harmonies and vocal choruses, Demon were clearly channeling the looser, bluesier spirit of UFO into songs like "Decisions," "Liar," and especially "Ride the Wind." Here, Demon vocalist Dave Hill displays more than a passing resemblance to Phil Mogg (although guitarist and co-songwriter Mal Spooner is no Michael Schenker), and then the almost country-fried "Fool to Play the Hard Way" bucks the metal stereotype even further by aping none other than Foghat -- seriously! Album closer "One Helluva Night" swings the chains back to the heavy metal realm ever so slightly, but is still rooted in enough classic rock tricks to fully expose Demon as somewhat less representative of the NWOBHM than their press releases of the time would suggest. That's just as well, in any case, as Night of the Demon still qualifies as one of the finer debuts by the many bands associated with that movement. [Dead Ringer Records' 2003 reissue of Night of the Demon was enhanced with four bonus tracks: two premiere recordings, a remix of the title cut, and the original version of "Liar" -- the first song ever recorded by Demon.]

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