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Saint Deamon is a new Power Metal band hailing from Sweden, on the Frontiers Records label. This is their debut CD, entitled ‘In shadows lost from the brave’. It is vocalist Jan Thore Grefstad’s newest stint in a metal band. Grefstad is the ex-vocalist of the currently “on hold” Highland Glory. Grefstad left the band sometime after their 2nd CD ‘Forever endeavour’, which was released in 2005. Grefstad is also the vocalist of the metal band Wild Wily’s Gang and the ex-vocalist of the viking metal band Frostmoon.
Saint Deamon also has 2 ex-members of power metal band Dionysus, being Bassist Magnus "Nobby" Norberg and drummer Ronny Milianowicz. Rounding out the band is guitarist Toya Johansson. Saint Deamon does have a lot of similarities with Highland Glory, but that is expected while Grefstad would hold most of the control within the band. Bands are still finding their “sound” in their debut CD, so expect a slight change in their sound if Saint Deamon were to release a 2nd CD.
Saint Deamon play your typical European power metal, comparing to others bands such as Highland Glory, (early) Nocturnal Rites, Guardians of Time, Dreamtale and (early) Heavenly. Nothing new, but again that is expected. The CD is fairly short, clocking in at around 45 minutes, from 11 songs and an intro. There are a couple of rockin’ tracks that are under 3 minutes, while just 3 are 5 minutes or over. The songs are mixed up nicely on this release, ranging from your typical speedy tracks, to some mid-paced galloping melodic tracks and finally, a few slow ballad-type tracks (which kick ass too).
As a fan of Highland Glory, Saint Deamon immediately appealed to me, mainly due to the voice of Jan Thore Grefstad. He has a great power metal voice and is quite unique at the same time. Production of this CD is very good and Frontiers Records should be happy with their latest addition. I found no real weakspots within this CD, except for the track called “No man’s land”, which didn’t really have the same flow as the track previous to it and ones after. However, it does not bring the CD down and you are left remembering the highlights of the release.
Some favourite tracks to hear out for, include the first of 2 power ballads “My heart”, which is an awesome ballad with a very catchy and emotional chorus; “The burden”, which is a mid-paced track with galloping riffs and a shrieking Grefstad, a la Ralf Scheepers, Rob Halford or Tim “Ripper” Owens. The track is quite similar to Highland Glory’s “Surreality” on the ‘Forever endeavour’ release.
More tracks to enjoy include the short “Ride forever”, with a great riff throughout the track; and “The brave never bleeds” with its crunchy guitars, galloping riffs, fast pace and great solo. The CD finishes strong with the 2nd of the 2 power ballads “My sorrow”, which is very emotional and very 80s sounding; and finally the CD closer “Run for your life”, which is another mid-paced track with a catchy chorus.
In the end, don’t expect anything new sound-wise from Saint Deamon. They are just another of many power metal bands trying to capture their piece of the pie. Everything you hear on this release is something you have already heard from somewhere else, but Saint Deamon do theirs very well. Saint Deamon is so similar in sound to Highland Glory, that you would be forgiven if you thought you were listening to their latest CD. Fans of Highland Glory or any other of the before-mentioned bands should easily be able to enjoy this. Solid and enjoyable CD that should be taken notice of.
Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com
This band is something unique. I can't find other band from any heavy metal's sub-genre that is similar to this band. This one goes to all who say that all power metal bands sound the same. This band has something in common with other bands from the genre - heaviness of course, otherwise they wouldn't be heavy metal. This is not a band with a pop singer with tons of keyboard melodies and orchestrations, and electric guitars for solos only. No, this band is like a beast released from its chains, ready to grab anyone who stands on its way. This beast has face-melting riffs, razor-sharp vocals, ground-shaking drums, sexy melodies, and intelligent lyrics. Everything is very well-packed and put into the total harmony of perfection. From simple power chords to blazing, very well made, powerful and aggressive riffs. Songs sound massive. Not just because of riffs, but also because of glass-shattering vocals and thunderous drums.
Jan Thore has an amazing vocal range, and not many stand to be compared to him. His vocal abilities are outstanding. Listen to any Saint Deamon's song, but pay special attention to songs like The Burden, Ride Forever, No Mans Land, and Run For Your Life. He sounds completely insane and mind-blowing. Band members are great individuals, but they work even better as a team. Drummer Ronny Milianowicz and vocalist Jan Thore are definitely top band members, but without Toya Johansson's killer riffs, magical and orgasmic melodies and solos, nothing would be the same. Nobby Norberg's bass can be clearly heard in the song My Sorrow, so don't expect that you can practice your bass guitar skills with this band. Maybe you can, but that doesn't matter much. Songs: In Shadows Lost From The Brave, Black Symphony and The Brave Never Bleeds are examples of this killer mix: high-pitched screams, fast drum work, enjoyable and pleasant rhythms, fast guitars with heavy riffs, and tasty, splendid guitar solos. The Exodus+My Judas, The Burden, Ride Forever and Deamons are slower songs, done with the same amount of perfection.
All of these songs have strong, sky-high, powerful vocals with amazing refrains that send shivers down your spine. A small amount of keyboards is present here. They are not placed as a lead instrument. Electric guitar does the main job, while keyboards are in the background, just to fill some tiny holes in order to complete the epic atmosphere. That means no electric guitar vs. keyboards during the solos, or anything like that. Songs are complex too, with notable amount of progressions. Lots of tempo changes are present, breaks, and some songs have structure as if they took different songs, and connected them in one. This release has two ballads. My Heart is power ballad and other ballad is My Sorrow which has an amazing ambient because of the bass lines and piano. Vocals put so much emotion there, and the lyrics are genial and perfect. In fact, each song has great lyrics. Love, hate, life, death, madness and personal struggles are topics here. Also, song Deamons is like a seafarers' anthem. This band has serious talent overdose. Talent only is not enough. Creativity and originality are even more important. Skills too. And these guys have it all.
Good sides of this release:
Every song is ass-kicking here. Vocals, drums and guitars are excellent. Lyrics are well-written and have meaning. Band members are great individuals and they work perfectly well as a team. Ballad, power ballad, mid and fast tempo songs are here, which means this release has it all. If you see this album pick it up. You won't regret. You can only regret if you miss buying it when you see it somewhere.
Bad sides of this release:
Every goddamn song.
Formed out of the soon to be ashes of Dionysus, and fronted by the former helmsman of Highland Glory, Saint Deamon comes to the still growing array of European power metal bands offering something of a compromise between the established dogmas of the style established by Helloween and Stratovarius, while incorporating a few elements of the newer AOR influences attributed to Masterplan and the now defunct Ride The Sky. This mixture has a greater tendency towards the former, and with Grefstad at the microphone, thankfully avoids being led by yet another series of David Coverdale emulations. But like their AOR contemporaries, this outfit avoids grandiose epics while incorporating limited amounts of progressive rock influences, resulting in something that is somewhat versatile yet otherwise very compact.
Although not pushing the boundaries too much, “In Shadows Lost From The Brave” does carve out an identity that is very much its own. The combination of a melancholy yet not quite as dense keyboard backdrop as that of Highland Glory’s last album “Forever Endeavor”, a fairly dark and deep guitar character, and Grefstad’s high soaring vocals (which regularly flirt with Dan Heiman territory) works out to something not all that far from what Sonata Arctica might have accomplish if they hadn’t butchered their approach so badly on “Unia”. Songs like “My Heart” and “No Man’s Land” really capture that woeful metallic character that was clearly realized on “Winterheart’s Guild” in a much slower manner, almost akin to what Dio might have done a few years prior if they’d decided to take influences from current keyboard oriented Scandinavian power metal bands.
Nonetheless, for most of this album the general tendency towards melody driven, catchy, up tempo anthems peculiar to the European style is maintained here. “In Shadows Lost From The Brave”, “Black Symphony” and “The Brave Never Bleeds” all hearken back about 7 to 9 years prior when the style was still blossoming throughout Northern Europe, though dressed up with a some heavier groove riffs, a few studio effects and some sparsely placed lead guitar intercessions. It’s been heard before, but its presentation is modified slightly to capture a darker character. A good example to illustrate this is the contrast between Fairyland and Hamka, for those who are familiar with the symphonic area of this sub-genre. The latter of these two had a near identical style and arrangement (including the same vocalist and drummer) to that of the former, but took a very different approach to songwriting.
By the standards of 2008, this is a really solid offering, though it does lag a bit behind the heights reached by the genre several years back, including the two bands that most of the membership of this one came out of. One could liken this to picking up the pieces, as the power metal scene in Northern Europe has either been lagging in general, or otherwise caught up in experimentation and all but abandoned the original spirit of the sound. There is some better stuff out there, but this would definitely be worth looking into, particularly if you’re hungry for more epic, glass shattering vocals and are bummed that Lost Horizon hasn’t put out anything in years and that Heed has broken up.
Originally submitted to (www.metal-observer.com) on March 10, 2010.
This CD is just that: a CD. It has power metal features specializing in uppity atmospheres, heavy guitars, bass rhythms, fitting percussion, and happy vocals, but it lacks the zest similar factions aim for. Coursing along Saint Deamon’s debut, direction serves no purpose, yet they also claw themselves away from copycatting other bands; indeed, no stance has been staked on either side, whether it be intentional or not. Saint Deamon can only grasp tiny specs throughout “In Shadows Lost from the Brave,” leaving my mind a little confused by what the squad tries offering towards power metal fans and music lovers alike.
Typically, things bend upon mid-tempo flags stretching into melodic stars, so basically simple and catchy metal caught on keeping that repetition in a positive light. The percussion acts somewhat distraught due to its confronting surroundings, forcing it to remain essentially steady without applying noteworthy fills or anything attempting excitement. Everything still flows together on a listenable level, yet this record just stays in its glass ideology until it finally concludes. That’s basically how the whole record works, plodding along freely while avoiding both haphazard situations and majestic courses. I’m not saying they need to push power metal further, but come on. What’s the point, if there is one?
Still, a little light shines from Jan Thore Grefstad’s semi-amazing expectorations, even despite countless singers have overwhelming edges in comparison. Well, he’s got that happy tone we usually see, albeit features of soaring falsetto on occasion and adjusts upon Saint Deamon’s musical chime with ease, which is always an addition reeking tickles; however, he’s clearly no monolith within his select field. Over time, those warming elegances turn grey after looping around so many instances, and by the release’s end, no territory has been flagged as Saint Deamon’s own. I wouldn’t call Grefstad valorous, nor dull; just a basic singer that expels whatever is penned upon his paper.
So in finalizing “In Shadows Lost from the Brave,” we have a CD: plastic, music, a booklet, and a case, yet altogether, an item cannot be detected; that being true power. This album is simply music for the sake of emitting music, with minimal stride found only in rare intervals, plus one-dimensional identities not crystallizing an entire full-length of material. Some might find it enjoyable, or perhaps horrendous, but I can only reside between those adjacent emotions whilst experiencing this mediocre effort that really attempts nothing at all. I guess look into the release if Saint Deamon seems interesting, yet there are no guarantees you’ll find something memorable.
This review was written for: www.Thrashpit.com
Sweden's Saint Deamon is a power metal band with plenty of hard rock and more noticeable progressive elements. You've heard of these types of bands right? There are loads of them all around, oozing out of Sweden, Italy, Germany etc, but Saint Deamon seems to be one of the better bands that stands out in the pack. I heard they were playing on the Prog/Power USA bill so I decided to check them out and I'm quite pleased with what I hear.
The music here isn't very out there nor is it very generic, it's simply just another power metal band. Most songs here are mid-tempo to more upbeat style with two ballads. The songs remain under 6 minutes and have plenty of progressive elements with flowing keys, weird structures and such but still nothing too out there like Dream Theater or Pagan's Mind. The better of the two ballads is My Judas where vocalist Jan Thore Grefstad shines very much so, showing his ability to pull of falseettos very similar to James LaBrie and Tobias Sammet; but most of the songs he sounds like Bob Catley often in his mid to low range singing. The other ballad My Heart reminds me SO much of new Avantasia with the hard rock/power metal vibe it's uncanny, just add some proggy elements and it's essentially the same.
No Mans Land, Black Symphony and Deamons are all solid power metal anthems with catchy choruses, rumbling double bass, trademark crunchy "prog" riffing and fun keys. No Mans Land stands out the most with the catchiest chorus and a really nice solo; the lead guitar work here is worthy of your typical power/progressive metal band, nothing Malmsteen or Romeo influenced but still decent. The rest of the musicanship here is solid, with drumming more similar to your most power metal bands and keyboard work somewhat "spacey and flowing" at times reminiscent of Pagan's Minds less overbearing work.
This is a decent outing of progressive rock influenced power metal much akin to newer Avantasia and bands like Dionysus and Dream Theater. It's very cheesy at times with power metal choruses aplenty and more of the same styles of power metal playing. In Shadows Lost From The Brave is an enjoyable debut from Saint Deamon with members from Highland Glory and Dionysus. For their next album, I hope they remain more of a prog/metal band instead of adding in lighter rock influences and creating plenty of solid power metal anthems. This is nothing special or out of the ordinary but it is enough to listen to at times but if you want heavier more progressive metal stick with Dream Theater and Spheric Universe Experience; but if you want more power metal styled bands then stick with Highland Glory, Dionysus, and Labyrinth. But if you want the closest comparison, is Avantasia's newest outing with a prog rock/power metal feel.
It's quite rare that a band has a debut album this solid. Featuring two members of Swedish power metal outfit Dionysus and ex-Highland Glory singer Jan Thore Grefstad, "In Shadows Lost From the Brave" boasts 12 tracks of short, catchy metal songs.
One of the strongest areas of the album is the choruses. They are big, memorable, and will stay in your head for a long time. With only a couple of exceptions, each song has a very memorable, sing-along chorus. The vocals are well-done, and the lyrics can range from personal subjects to fantasy. Some of the strongest choruses here are in "My Judas", "In Shadows Lost From the Brave", and "Deamons". If you like power metal with good choruses, this is a good place to look.
The guitar riffs are solid, and the solos are melodic and tasteful. There are some hints of classical influence, as shown on songs such as "Black Symphony". The bass never strays too far from the rhythm of the song. Harmonized guitars are quite common in metal, and this is no exception here. Still, there is a good use of harmony in the solos.
One can definitely hear the band's influences in songs like "Ride Forever" and "The Brave Never Bleeds". I am strongly reminded of HammerFall and Iron Maiden on these two tracks. The shouted choruses and galloping guitars will probably please fans of both these bands.
There are two ballads here, "My Heart" and "My Sorrow". Both are good songs, although I find the stronger of the two to be "My Sorrow". The chorus of this song is one of the highlights of the album.
I would recommend this album to fans of Iron Maiden, HammerFall, Helloween, or anyone who likes hard rock/metal.
Highlights: "My Judas", "In Shadows Lost From the Brave", "No Man's Land", "Deamons", "My Sorrow".