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Arriving in 2009 is the second album from Sweden’s Saint Deamon, entitled Pandeamonium. Their first album was released in January 2008, so it has been just over 15 months between releases. Saint Deamon is comprised of two musicians from the now split-up Dionysus and also featuring the ex-vocalist of Highland Glory, Jan Thore Grefstad.
The debut album In Shadows Lost From The Brave was a decent, yet standard power metal release, which pretty much went un-noticed in the metal world. With influences ranging from (early) Nocturnal Rites and Heavenly, Guardians of Time and Dreamtale; Saint Deamon’s debut album sounded quite similar to Grefstad’s previous band Highland Glory. With the band’s second album now under their belt, it should now be clear just where Saint Deamon are heading in terms of sound, signature and stature.
Still retaining a European melodic/power metal sound, ‘Pandeamonium’ sounds quite fresh, exciting and matured; incorporating an improved epic/bombastic feel. Produced by Roy-Z and Jens Bogren, the improvements from the debut album are immense, with Saint Deamon undertaking a heavier feel, especially with the guitars and drumming. Bass guitar has also been given a tweak and has great influence throughout the CD.
With In Shadows Lost From The Brave, the majority of the tracks basically followed the same structure and sound, but ‘Pandeamonium’ is quite diverse with tracks raging from speedy rockers to melodic and emotional mid-paced epics, and rounded of with heavy bombastic ballads. The first track which should be mentioned on the release would be the brilliant title track Pandeamonium. The track can be considered a power-ballad, containing a great driving beat and an emotional/melodic feel; reminding me of Saint Deamon’s best track on their debut album, entitled My Heart.
There is now no real similarity to Highland Glory at all, which is a great thing for this band; who have indeed found themselves their own niche. Only a few tracks are reminiscent to the sound from Saint Deamon’s debut album, and they include the album opener Deception and the very cliché Oceans Of Glory. Showing some diversity on the release, tracks like the pummeling The Deamon Within and Way Home borderlines on modern Euro heavy metal; drawing comparisons to the recent sounds of Steel Attack. Examples of the band’s newfound aggression can be found with the tracks The Only One Sane and Eyes Of The Devil, both great songs I must say, with wicked solos, riffs and outstanding drumming.
Saint Deamon brings the tempo down again for the memorable power-ballad A Day To Come, again incorporating heavy guitars and giving it an epic feel with some symphonic/orchestral elements. Accolades must be given to vocalist Jan Thore Grefstad for his superb effort on Pandeamonium. His delivery and the impact he has on these songs has never been so strong, including Saint Deamon’s first album and all of Highland Glory’s releases.
Saint Deamon has done very well with their second album, easily surpassing their debut. Saint Deamon may have taken the “safe” method with their first release, in terms of sound; Pandeamonium on the other hand is quite different, where the song-writers have really been taken off the leash. The end result is this wonderfully constructed album which delves into many metal genres, not just sticking to the typical melodic/power metal sound that was evident on the last album. The added aggression and heaviness of the guitars constantly jumps out at you and is a greatly welcomed addition to the band’s re-vamped sound.
I highly recommend Pandeamonium and fans of melodic/power metal and modern heavy metal should really check this out as those particular fans will be greatly surprised.
Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com and www.themetalforge.com
That's right, they made another perfect studio album, and it seems like they can't do no wrong. This band is something very unique, and completely different from anything you've ever heard of before. How do I know that? After listening to hundreds of heavy metal bands from various sub-genres (power, classic heavy, doom, melodic heavy, thrash, death, melodic death, neoclassical, progressive, symphonic, folk and viking), you may realize how unique and perfect this band truly is. Everything is perfectly balanced here, that's why this album deserves the highest mark, and any lower mark makes this studio album underrated. You have blazing riffs, tasty melodies, guitar solos, soaring, high-pitched vocals and glass shattering screams, also short, but lyrics that actually have meaning. As a team these guys work the best way possible, and they are like some kind of "fantastic four".
Heavy, powerful, blazing, tasty and creative riffs are everywhere, from the very beginning of the album, to the end. Most notable riffs can be found in Eyes Of The Devil, The Only One Sane, The Deamon Within and Fallen Angel, also riffs with melodic approach in song Way Home. Riffs in these songs are so outstanding. Songs have incredible structure, and these riffs help to make the songs so much powerful, besides the drum work and powerful vocals. Yeah, everything is powerful indeed, that's what actually power metal is all about. Power metal is somehow recognized in the wrong way as the least powerful, some kind of pop version of heavy metal music. That's because of large number of pop bands with tons of keyboards and guitar melodies without any riffs. Only fans of power metal (like me) actually know what is it all about.
Besides the riffs, songs have power overdose because of sky-high soaring vocals. Jan Thore has incredible vocal range, and only few singers can get close enough to be compared with him. Every single song is blessed with his razor sharp, sky-high, glass shattering voice, and he gives the songs whole new level. That means that Saint Deamon puts most of other bands in shame. Also, Ronny Milianowicz shakes the ground with his great drumming. His unique style makes songs sound so much better, with very creative and interesting rhythms, which make songs so much perfect. From slow tempo, mid tempo to fast tempo ones, it is really incredible killer drum work.
Besides impressive riffs, Toya Johansson has some great solos here and there, and his melodic leads during song parts make songs even stronger. The Only One Sane, Eyes Of The Devil, Fallen Angel and The Deamon Within are Toya's highlights. Even though songs have monster parts before solos, but suddenly when solos start, everything becomes godlike. His solos will melt your brain, you'll start to feel adrenaline rush and aggression of these songs becomes even stronger during and after them. Short, creative and tasty solos are in the rest of the songs. Anthem-like, epic and powerful - Oceans Of Glory, melodic, divine, massive - Fallen Angel, strong, melodic, slow ballad - Pandeamonium, and blazing, fast and aggressive - Deception and The Only One Sane are songs that will stay in mind of every listener. After short time, your mind will hunger for more, and that's when other songs will unveil their hidden magic.
Good sides of this release:
Everything. This is not mallcore crap band, but 100% pure heavy metal storm, which will crush every poser who dares stand in their way. You can't kill heavy metal. Bands like this one prove that. Get this album if you see it somewhere, support heavy metal, support perfect music.
Bad sides of this release:
Saint Deamon can be summed up as a rebirth, albeit in a hybrid form, of the now defunct Swedish power metal band Dionysus. They have toned down the keyboard elements (which are still very much present nonetheless) and offer a much darker and somber take on their style, in no small part because of the somewhat solemn and very much auspicious vocal assault that Jan Grefstad brings to the table, bringing in a somewhat subtle Highland Glory tinge to the mix. He often reminds me of Dan Heiman, though when the two were put together on “From The Cradle To The Brave” it’s not difficult to tell who is who, offering the same brand of semi-sleazy, siren wailing yet tuneful screams that were first pioneered by Rob Halford decades ago.
“Pandeamonium” is, from a stylistic standpoint, a full out rehash of “In Shadows Lost From The Brave”. The songs are extremely compact, very predictable, and tend to be more vocally driven than guitar dominated. It differs from Highland Glory in that it doesn’t venture down the extravagant, epic length, 7 minutes plus territory that was so popular about 8 years ago, and the guitars are a bit darker and heavier sounding. These are all fodder for sing along moments at concerts, putting an extremely strong emphasis on easy to recognize chorus work, varying perhaps a little bit in tempo from time to time, but not really getting too heavily into technical showmanship or extravagant instrumental sections.
The highlights on here are usually where the guitars show some times of activity, as there isn’t much point of contrast aside from that. “The Only One Sane” gets into some interesting keyboard texturing, and manages to throw in a number interesting riff interchanges during the verse, not to mention a fairly fast, albeit short solo. “Eyes Of The Devil” actually has a principle riff that is somewhat reminiscent of early Bay Area thrash metal, albeit it comes and goes pretty quickly and the song tends to settle back into a slower groove when the vocal sections come in. “Fallen Angel” brings in some subtle neo-classical elements and is one of the more riff happy songs. But pretty much even the standard, catchy rockers like “Deception” and “The Deamon Within” (gotta love that consistent alternate spelling thing) are fun to listen to.
You can’t really knock a band for all but writing the same album again when the previous album was good, and I probably wouldn’t mind it if they took this same route again on their next album. It’s not as fast and formulaic as the older school of the early 200s, but it plays to the same general concept within its more modern package. Pretty much any fan of European power metal will have an easy time getting into this band, as they’ve manage to present this shorter, accessible approach without all of the AOR trappings of other recent bands like Power World and Ride The Sky.