Friday, October 2, 2015

Demon - Into The Nightmare

If you were a hard rock band singing about demons in the early eighties and your band was not named Judas Priest or Iron Maiden odds are nearly no one paid you any attention. If you were lucky you might have been able to create a small cult following that might have grown in time. There were a lot of bands in the that time frame experimenting with heavy guitar and hard rhythm sections that would eventually lead to the existence of bands like Metallica and Megadeth and in turn popular metal, and unfortunately most of those bands are only remembered on the fringes of the history books. Demon is such a band.

The simply named band Demon was created by vocalist Dave Hill and guitarist Mal Spooner, and in 1981 they released their first album “Night of The Demon” which is a superb hard rock album that tragically is largely forgotten. Demon did manage to gain some momentum after “Night of The Demon” and their second album “The Unexpected Guest,” also really good, actually managed to make in onto the UK charts... it rose to forty-seven, but still. Demon quickly began being forgotten soon then after and it probably did not help that Mal died in 1984. Demon marched on to 1992 before the band broke up.

Dave Hill, seems like a cool guy.
However in 2001 Dave Hill decided to reform the band Demon with a whole new line up, and why not? Demon has had twenty-seven different band members as of the current date; they might as well call themselves Dave Hill and the Demons, or Dave Hill’s Demon, which are also goods band names if you ask me.

Full disclosure, I have only recently discovered Demon and as of this date as I write I am only familiar with Demon’s first two albums. I have been warned they changed their style after “The Unexpected Guest” a little, and I do not know if that change is a good or bad thing, or if it contributed to Demon’s gradually fizzling out of existence. I also do not know how successful or good Demon’s 2001 recreation has been; perhaps more on all that later, right now we will start at the beginning, the album “The Night of the Demon” and song “Into The Nightmare.”

As stated a moment ago Demon’s first album was titled “The Night of the Demon,” and the first three tracks are, in order, “Full Moon,” “The Night of The Demon,” and “Into The Nightmare.” “Full Moon” is a short minute and a half instrumental that introduces/segues into the title track, “The Night of Demon.” The song “The Night of The Demon” is really good, it rocks out, and it serves as a perfect flagship song for the band and it would probably be the best song off of the album if not for “Into The Nightmare.”

Full Moon - Night of The Demon

“Into The Nightmare” is one of those wonderful songs that is about dark themes but is presented with incredible positivity. The energetic bass line and drumbeat help carry the song and the lead guitar is sharp the way it dances in and out, but also Hill’s voice conveys no fear or rage when he sings:

“You're into the nightmare.
This nightmare may take your life tonight.”

It is a really fun song.

I am particularly fond of songs with negative messages but positive sounds. You may recall my ramblings about Almah’s “Meaningless World” and Prism’s “Armageddon,” and how those are among the most enjoyable songs ever and both are about ruined worlds yet the singer sings happily and the tempo and sound is enthralling upbeat. In this regard Demon’s “Into The Nightmare” is very similar. The song “Into The Nightmare” describes a creeping horror inching towards an unnamed third party as they fall asleep and they are warned not to close their eyes or the spirits/demons will take them. It sounds exactly like the sort of scene you would expect to see in a horror movie, a rather interesting one by the sounds of things, yet, everything about the sound and expression is joyful. It’s great, I always get a kick out of it, and it strikes with a strange combination of things, it is fearful and joyful at the same time.

It really is a shame that Demon has struggled to get proper recognition, but that is unfortunately the tale of most decent rock bands. Do yourself a favor and listen to the album “The Night of The Demon,” and specifically “Into The Nightmare,” they are classics that should not be forgotten.

- King of Braves

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