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Night Demon EP

Self-released (2012)
Rating: 4.5/10

Before I hear a lot of this stuff, I often like to try and guess what type of metal it’s going to be. Nine out of ten times I’m usually correct in my assumptions, although I must admit that I like to be proven wrong. With California’s Night Demon, I fully expected a mediocre, archetype heavy metal band bolstered by blazing riffs and clear, but slightly off-key vocals. Sadly, I was right.

Night Demon is about as bland as their name unfortunately; another of those newer bands on a revival trip, Night Demon hope to bring back the days of old with their run of the mill lyrics and galloping drums.

It’s no real surprise however that these metalheads have shared the same stage as Diamond Head and Raven, because they play the sort of straightforward leathery rock that would certainly juice up a waiting crowd.

It’s nothing fancy; Night Demon is a four-track EP that is metal-by-numbers at best, lacking identity but having a certain creaky charm that brings to mind some of the more trusted, albeit tried and tested New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands that emerged in the early 80s. This time however, lyrics such as “We’ll drink up all your beer, leave your women in fear” just can’t win me over.

Vocalist Jarvis Leatherby is no match for the original metal kings on this sub-standard rocker; an EP that begins life with the title track. ‘Night Demon’ suggests “Metal is on the rise. Our fury never dies”, but what these guys don’t seem to realise is that this sort of metal is dated. I find it rather disconcerting that a lot of today’s revivalist bands sound even more out of date than the bands that came decades previous.

With its plodding bass and rather tepid guitar trudge, ‘The Chalice’ also fails to light my fire, such is its lukewarm nature. Leatherby – until he reaches the higher notes – is more than adequate, but such is the predictability of this record that you begin to finish off the sentences before the singer even gets there.

‘Ancient Evil’ ups the pace but Brent Woodward’s guitar fails to really cut its teeth, although John Crerar’s drum sound is a little more potent. Overall though, this is metal eager to ape the clever nuances of great bands such as Diamond Head and Iron Maiden circa Paul Di’Anno. ‘Ritual’ closes the EP with a swirling solo and hearty drum, but again it’s the mediocre gallop that propels this track back into the pits of a faceless breed.

These Californians are quite simply too obsessed with all the ingredients that once made metal so magic. Without injecting any elements of freshness and smothering the opus in those child-like lyrics, however, Night Demon are just another tree in the forest, melting into the background.

Fourteen minutes pass by, and I’m not convinced that a full-length opus by this trio is something I could put up with. While at times it’s good to keep things simple, Night Demon – for all of their apparent graft – lack the guile to convert me to their alleged brand of bewitching metal.

Neil Arnold

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