HistoryThe band was spawned in the summer of 1979. Dave Hill and Mal Spooner had been in a glam and glitz band called Iron Cross before. Demon's first release was a red vinyl single called Liar which had a print run of 5,000. The single had a 5000 limited run. Demon's first two albums are considered classic NWOBHM records. The albums were issued on France's Carrere, which was working with Saxon at the time. At that time the band shrouded itself in a dose of mystical imagery. The Plague was a socio-critical concept album. Leaving Carrere, the band issued The Plague through Manager Stone's Clay label. The LP was licensed to Atlantic in America. Mel Spooner died of pneumonia in 1984 a mere week after completing British Standard Approved and Watts is added to the fold. The band has been up and down since having reformed twice.
One Helluva Night was a live album recorded at Ludwigsburg's Rockfabrik in Germany. With record sales lacking the band broke up until following an enquiry from a promoter an arisen Demon played the Bang Your Head festival in Germany in 1997. A new record was released in 2001. Better The Devil You Know featured yet another revamped line-up. The band played in the UK and Italy in 2005 and appeared at select German festivals. Demon's entire back catalogue was re-issued with bonus tracks on its own Spaced Out Music. The group issued a double-CD compilation of its career material spanning 1980 to 2005 in late 2006. The band announced a farewell tour of Europe for 2007 in January of that year. Nonetheless in the tradition of Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, George Bush and Status Quo the group was playing a 30th-anniversary show at the Keep It True XIII festival, scheduled for April 2010 in Germany! More albums followed. Walmsley moved to bass in 2012. Karl Waye returned to the band after being away for 10 years. Demon appeared at the Bang Your Head festival in 2005 and 2017. The Devil Rides out was a 2019 soundtrack for that game. Demon appeared at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2019 and This was distributed by Napalm Records. 2021 brought an odd split single for the band and Spin The Wheel and Black Mamba.
DEMON - BETTER THE DEVIL YOU KNOW - SPACED OUT
Several people had warned me about Demon and its newer output. The band apparently has several hardcore detractors who like to share their information and insight with fellow heavy metal listeners. Fortunately, the band is not as bad, or rather bad at all, as people were claiming. Moreover, the negative publicity made me realize the value of such punditry. Without hearing it my opinion of the band's album was so low that there was no way I was going to be disappointed.
On to the music and after several listens songs like Better The Devil You Know and Dead Of The Night are like the mating of Bon Jovi and Accept. The commercial vibe, sing-along vocals and backing vocals are similar to Bon Jovi, while the hard and heavy riffs and solid solos remind one of Accept. The band is, of course, as aged as those acts itself so this is not a case of imitation, but rather a useful analogy for the sake of this review. Other songs bear different inclinations. Warriors could have been a Manowar tune, Live Again sounds like a Rainbow song partly owing to the atmospheric keyboards used and the ballad Change has a definite Meat Loaf flavour. Elsewhere, the band injects enough amounts of energy and interesting guitar work to make this album work.
Demon is not about to break new ground with Better The Devil You Know, but given the 'innovations' many younger bands are introducing to 'heavy metal' the album title has never rung so true. - Ali "The Metallian"
DEMON - TIME HAS COME: THE BEST OF DEMON - SPACED OUT
Truly one of NWOBHM’s least recognized and most unheralded bands has to be Demon. Time Has Come: The Best Of Demon is a two-disc anthology of the band that is the perfect introduction to the ever-changing line-up and sound of the English demons. The release of the compilation is also opportune because the band has simultaneously announced a run of live dates billed as the group’s last. In any case, Time Has Come’s tracks are presented in chronological order which allows the listener to travel with the band through its evolution and remark different line-ups’ changing sounds and styles.
And speaking of styles, to say Demon has been inconsistent would be the understatement of the last 25 years. Beginning with the patently NWOBHM sound of songs like Night Of The Demon, Into The Nightmare and The Spell off the band’s early albums the band travels unto rock, pop, AOR, progressive rock, folk, new age and beyond. Demon has music that would fit the bill on a Saxon, Saga or Chris De Burgh or Bruce Springsteen album. The inconsistency might be a function of the band’s instability or simply a desire on the part of singer Dave hill to explore the many facets of music he loves, but one could only wonder whether the changes have contributed to the band’s lack of success. On the other hand, the term is subjective given how the band has made it past its 25th anniversary mark, something which few bands can boast.
Demon has something for everyone on these songs. The 27 tracks will tingle everyone’s fancy at some pint, although that point came very early on the first six tracks for this writer. - Ali “The Metallian”