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Demon - 1982 The Unexpected Guest

ALBUM: The Unexpected Guest
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 1990, Sonic Records (UK), SONIC CD 2 * 2001, Record Heaven, RHCD45


LINEUP: Dave Hill - vocals * Mal Spooner - rhythm guitars * Les Hunt - lead guitars * Chris Ellis - bass * John Wright - drums * Andy Richards - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Intro: An Observation * 02 Don't Break The Circle * 03 The Spell * 04 Total Possession * 05 Sign Of A Madman * 06 Victim Of Fortune * 07 Have We Been Here Before? * 08 Strange Institution * 09 The Grand Illusion * 10 Beyond The Gates * 11 Deliver Us From Evil


Perhaps one of the most interesting bands from the NWOBHM era was the British band Demon. Their initial representation stemmed from the cover of their 1981 debut LP 'Night Of The Demon', plus their gothic schlock horror live shows. Doom metal merchants these blokes may have been tagged, and it wasn't a surprise to see Demon bundled into the same pot as Black Sabbath, Venom, Witchfynder General and similar outfits from Britain back in the day. If you listen closely, Demon are a fantastic blend of NWOBHM, progressive rock and AOR. Followers of this site should go back and take a refresher of their early work. I'm going to take a peak at their 1982 album 'The Unexpected Guest', as we've already covered their LP's either side of this one. Demon definitely progressed beyond their NWOBHM origins as their career extended into the 80's. Certainly by the time they had released 'The Plague' and 'British Standard Approved', their style had moved to progressive rock with strong hints toward Pink Floyd. For this album though, Demon hadn't quite made the musical u-turn, but there are definite hints that a change was on the cards.

The Songs
Beyond the album's introduction ('Intro: An Observation') which is a mix of synth noodling, heavy footsteps and frantic breathing, Demon get underway with the album's main track 'Don't Break The Circle', a vital track which brings forth the album's protagonist 'the unexpected guest'. We segue into 'The Spell', which continues the dark magic lyrics though interestingly, there are some clean AOR like synths played over the top, which is both intriguing and different. Demon strike a chord with the fast-paced 'Total Possession', which touches on the style heard elsewhere with bands such as More and Rage. There are some well placed keyboards on 'Sign Of A Madman' making this one sound more American than anything else. So too the hard rocking 'Victim Of Fortune', not a sign of British influence to be heard, with the behind the scenes organ work adding a melodic sheen. 'Have We Been Here Before' is played in a happy-go-lucky style, sort of like Nazareth in their better moods. Dave, Mal, Les and the rest of the boys drop anchor for a moment with the slow-mid tempo 'Strange Institution', the bass sounds as if it's run through some Taurus bass pedals. The lyrics sound interesting too, I went to have a read of them on the Net, I couldn't quite work out the detail. No doubt some one can. No, it's not a Styx re-run; this version of 'The Grand Illusion' deals with devilish black magic amid lies, excuses and deception. Sounds like the American Government circa 2013 huh? Gotta love the intro guitar attack on 'Beyond The Gates', and despite the murky subject matter and tough musical exterior, this one is very melodic. Keeping it all in the family re: subject/lyrical matter, 'Deliver Us From Evil' is a robust rocker all the way through, the chorus sort of chanty and anthemic, and very similar to 'Don't Break The Circle' heard earlier.

In Summary
It's clear to me that Demon's first two albums are cast from the same block of clay. That they changed direction for their next album 'The Plague' was an inspired one, clearly it became a favourite among those with more refined tastes, whether progressive rock or AOR. Just before I sign off, I should make mention of the album cover which is a clever design and a definite optical illusion if there is one! Looking one way, you possibly could see a ghosly figure. Looking with an alternative view, you could make out the shape of a bodybuilder's physique: pectoral chest muscles, abdominals etc. Nonetheless, a very cool album, which is getting a lot of airplay at the moment.

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