I have been a long-time supporter of this band, so with album number 2 up for grabs, it’s a no brainer for me to review this, no surprise to those who know me. This American band have toured for what seems forever over the past few years, coast to coast, South America and Europe a couple of times. Shamefully no UK promotor has taken up the “chalice”, let’s hope this resolves itself. Of recent times, bassist and singer Jarvis Leatherby has taken over live vocal duties for NWOBHM legends Jaguar which is a perfect fit for the earlier material of Night Demon as well as fulfilling bass duties with Cirith Ungol. Night Demon also fully support the ‘metal cares’ charity.
So, what does ‘Darkness Remains’ offer? Full on classic metal that’s all! Of course, heavy influence of the NWOBHM scene is still present, after all ‘Maiden Hell’ lyrically name drops quite a few of their releases. The opener ‘Welcome to the Night’ is a great leading track. Fast, yet melodic, yet filled with simplicity that’s results in an awesome sound. In some places on the album, the single tracked guitar (Night Demon are a trio) works great, in other areas like the instrumental ‘Flight of the Manticore’ double tracking adding depth and soul. That’s what I get form this album, soul… Many bands pay homage to this style, Night Demon have mastered their art through relentless touring, this new line up is pretty tight. It sounds too easy right? Well it’s the mark of the quality of the finished product.
Night Demon have improved their song writing skills. Each track may be your favourite, it’s a tough one to call, I do like them all. The game and sound changer is the closer and album title track which has some dreamy soft vocal effects added, taking the Night Demon experience to yet another place of your consciousness. ‘Black Widow’ is a furious jaunt into heavenly metal circles, ‘Dawn Rider’ is a sing along favourite and then you get ‘Life On the Run’ which is another stellar track made great by the sterling production job. The album does sound very good in all modes of your listening technology out there, a real highlight and progression from the debut release ‘Curse of the Damned’. It sounds like they have been doing this for years, the music is well played, perfectly arranged and recording in its full glory. I have had no need to twiddle with graphic equalizers whilst listening to this album.
‘Darkness Remains’ is edgy, precise and a true metal record. It doesn’t fall into the “this sounds like this riff and song” category at all, it’s their own sound honed perfectly over the last few years. It’s a game changer for the band and will hopefully appeal to a wider audience, especially on the back of the touring the band do in support of their passion. ‘Darkness Remains’ is a true highlight of a hard working band doing things their way and doing the legwork to support their music, rather than relying on the internet. It’s at the top of my list and when it’s released there is a couple of formats available along with special pre-orders including other Night Demon merchandise direct thought the bands website.
(9.5/10 Paul Maddison)