Demon, Night of the Demon (Clay Records, 1981)
[originally posted 14Feb2002]
A long time ago in a galaxy far far away there lived a biker-rock-cum-metal band called Demon. Demon were part of what came to be known as NWOBHM (the New Wave of British Heavy Metal), but were overshadowed, as so many early-eighties British metal bands were, by renewed interest on this side of the pond in the bands that had come before—Judas priest, Slade, et al. And so, despite the best efforts of a young, barely-known American band called Metallica (through numerous covers and the NWOBHM compilation album in the mid-eighties) to bring American attention to these acts, many of them faded into obscurity quickly.
Within the past couple of years, there has been a new spark of interest in some of those bands, and various record companies have been reissuing old albums right and left on CD. Thankfully, Night of the Demon, the debut album from Demon, wasn’t overlooked, and is a whole lot easier to find now than it was when I tracked it down over a decade ago.
The album is definitely two separate entities. Side one is a mini-concept work, five songs of straightforward metal of the three-chords-and-a-shout variety popular at the time. It’s good, solid, listenable stuff. What distinguishes Night of the Demon, though, is side two, which shows a much more laid-back blues-influenced feel in two songs, “Big Love” and “Fool to Play the Hard Way.” While it’s doubtful anyone would ever tack the appellation “sexy” onto Demon, or most other non-hair-metal hard rock bands, there’s an undeniable current of good times to be had by all running through these tracks. There was magic in the air, there was. What happened to it is anyone’s guess.
Demon released a few more albums as time went on. Their relative worth is debated to this day, with some fans saying the band’s first two albums are the only decent ones, and some holding out that the first four are all worth having; about the only thing all agree on is that Night of the Demon is an unrecognized classic. The older generation of metal fans has gradually become well acquainted with the genius that is Demon’s first album. Hopefully, with the recent reissues, a new generation of metal fans will realize that there was, in fact, life before Metallica started doing power ballads. **** ½
The full album available on Youtube.