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Saint Deamon – In Shadows Lost From The Brave

Label: Locomotive Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

If anyone is going to fill the tremendous void that Stratovarius left in the world of melodic heavy metal, Saint Deamon is the band to do it. Hailing from Sweden, this debut album made such an impact with me that it just secured itself the current top spot on my favorite albums of the year (passing the likes of Testament, Motley Crue, Scar Symmetry, and Pathosray) and it is going to be extremely difficult to beat. Now I am not saying that this band in anyway sounds like Stratovarius or is a copy of them.
What I am saying is that upon first listen to this album I felt the magic that I first felt when I listened to the Stratovarius classics ‘Visions’ and ‘Destiny’. The passion, power, and energy that came oozing out of the speakers was just breathtaking and left me wanting more. I found myself singing along to these brand new songs that I had never heard before after just one listen. The band meshes together the perfect blend of hard rock (TNT, Jorn) and power metal (Edguy, Helloween) which results in metal greatness. The choruses are big and grand, the guitars are heavy, and the songs are extremely melodic.

Drummer Ronny Milianowicz and bassist Nobby Nobergs are no strangers to metal as they are both previous members of Dionysus. Vocalist Jan Thore Grefstad is also known for work in Norwegian metal outfit Highland Glory. While both Dionysus and Highland Glory have solid releases under their belts nothing these bands have done measures up to Saint Deamon whose name comes from a fictional ghost rider S. Deamon.

Album opener “My Judas” is quite interesting as it almost sounds like the beginning to a black metal track with it’s Satyricon like vibe. This vibe soon gives way to a great mid tempo rocker in which Jan’s voice shines like a ray of sunshine through dark clouds and it becomes very evident that an excellent album is underway. “The Burden” with its crushing opening is probably the heaviest track on the album. The pounding drums and aggressive guitar as the song opens will have you stomping your feet and feel as if you are ready to do battle. Jan’s voice is in its most balls out form on this track with high pitched screams bringing to mind the likes of vocal greats Matthew Barlow (Iced Earth) and Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear). Through its verses and arrangements, “In Shadows Lost from the Brave” will easily call to mind Helloween’s classic ‘Keeper of the Seven Keys Part 1’ album as you can almost imagine it is Michael Kiske doing the vocal job. “Run for Your Life” is my favorite track on the album. It has a excellent chorus with amazing backing vocals reminding me of something like “Runaway” or “Tell Me How You Want It” from the first Damn Yankees album. This chorus combined with the catchy tempo changes assures me that it does not get better than this.

With Timo Tolkki disbanding Stratovarius and the last HammerFall album being less than stellar, this is the perfect time for Saint Deamon to make their voice be heard and become a major force in the Power Metal world. You can add this name to the list featuring the likes of Blind Guardian, Edguy, Kamelot, Angra, Helloween, and Gamma Ray because they are that good and I can only imagine will get bigger and better as time goes on. Saint Deamon will be playing the respected ProgPower USA festival in Atlanta this fall which has made a lot of progressive and power metal bands big since its inception. I am willing to bet that these guys are going to steal the show this year.
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