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Different year, same story. - 80%

hells_unicorn, January 2nd, 2011

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.