Sweden’s Saint Deamon aren’t fairly a family identify within the Euro-power scene, at the least partly on account of their lagging profession productiveness. They began out effectively, making impression with their 2008 debut and fast follow-up, 2009s superb Pandeamonium, however then they dropped off the face of the Earth. 10 years later they made an surprising comeback with 2019s Ghost, and now in comparatively brief order, they return with fourth album, League of the Serpent. Led as at all times by the powerhouse vocals of Jan Thore Grefstad (ex-Highland Glory), Saint Deamon have a potent weapon of their arsenal. To their credit score, they’ve at all times been profitable at crafting the form of materials that allow Grefstad shine, as that’s the place their bread is buttered and the cash will get made. There are a group of ace moments of their again catalog on account of his epic pipes, and a Euro-power fan involves a Saint Deamon launch in search of extra Jan Thore thunder. Can League of the Serpent ship that candy cobra venom for the soul with out clogging the arteries with power cheese overload? Off to League Evening we go.
It’s shortly obvious that the core type of Saint Deamon hasn’t modified and League of the Serpent delivers by-the-numbers Euro-power within the vein of Hammerfall, Nocturnal Rites, and Manimal with occasional flashes of Misplaced Horizon bombast and extra. Opener “At Break of Daybreak” is a reasonably generic slice of energy steel anchored by a mid-paced chug and carried by Jan Thore’s glorious vocals. It’s his efficiency that elevates the tune from inventory to entertaining, although solely by the narrowest of margins. It’s tame however pleasing, that includes delicate medieval people influences. Happily from there, Saint Deamon kick issues up just a few notches energy-wise. The title monitor brings extra traditional energy thunder although it too borders on secure and customary subject. The heavier guitar traces assist nevertheless and refrain strongly delivered units issues proper. The higher cuts embrace the anthemic “The Closing Struggle” and the extra epic-sized “Lord of the Evening,” each benefiting from decently catchy choruses. The latter jogs my memory fairly a little bit of the latest Manimal materials and Jan Thore will get to stretch his voice a bit extra, which is at all times a giant plus.
The band handle to inject respectable to good choruses in a lot of the songs, offering payoff and hooks. The robust Misplaced Horizon vibe in “Misplaced in Your Pores and skin” is a standout second, and “Gates of Paradise” feels like fashionable Kamelot, replete with canned symphonics. Even the mega-cheesy “Load Your Cannons” manages to snag the ear, regardless of sounding like one thing Working Wild wrote after which instantly discarded. The largest subject undermining League of the Serpent is how generic all of it sounds. The whole bundle is pure off-the-shelf Euro-power and also you’ve heard each trick and deal with 1,000,000 instances earlier than. The band is proficient sufficient to beat this malaise (barely), nevertheless it’s nonetheless a flaw that saturates each second right here.
Saint Deamon dwell and die by the regal vocal cords of Jan Thore Grefstad and by chance, he’s in prime type right here. He’s among the best energy steel vocalists on the market and it’s nearly not possible to dislike his singing. Although I’ve points with the underlying music, Jan forces me to return round along with his highly effective crooning and pressing wailing. His vocal hooks are plentiful sufficient to make the fabric stick and helps the album breeze proper by. Take Jan out of the combination and this factor would doubtless fall down a gap quick. Toya’s guitar work is kind of good, although I dislike the nu-metal-esque guitar tone he adopts on the heavier songs. It feels like one thing off a Mudvayne album and that’s no solution to undergo life, saints.
League of the Serpent is an efficient Euro-power album with enjoyable moments, nevertheless it’s positively caught in tier two, affected by generic writing and a failure to push the envelope creatively. It’s additionally a case research on how vocalist can elevate common materials. I need extra from Saint Deamon than I’ve been getting since they reemerged from limbo. I hope subsequent time we get one thing greater, bolder and extra impressed. Within the meantime, I suppose this snake cult will do.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Web sites: saintdeamon.se | fb.com/saintdeamonofficial
Releases Worldwide: April twenty first, 2023