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Hill; Dave: Welcome To The Real World (remastered & expanded)

Of all the bands that came out of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal explosion, Demon were possibly the most underrated and misunderstood. Much more refined and sophisticated (although they could still take your face off with a single glance…) than the punk fuelled but metal driven acts that continually tumbled forth at the time, the fact that Demon could seduce you with their subtle but hard hitting fare, or that they were capable of pulling off totally convincing concept albums, somehow got lost in the foot on the monitor mix. One of the real strengths of the band was always the more rock than metal styled vocals of Dave Hill, his one and only solo album, Welcome To The Real World, originally being released back in 1994, a couple of years after Demon split-up (they've been back together since 2001). At the time, with a mix Hill was never pleased with, the album basically sank without a trace, although search the net and you'll find it has a cult following. Twenty years after its initial release, Hill and Demon's manager, Mike Stone, remixed the ten tracks and put them out with a new cover (which I'm not sure is actually an improvement on the original).

Now, even as a big fan of Demon, I have to admit I've never heard Welcome… until now (not sure why I received a copy to review two years its reissue, but I'm not complaining), so other than to say that the sound is excellent here, I can't comment on how improved it is. Although with additional "keyboards, sounds and nuances" also added to this version, that it sounds good isn't too much of a surprise. What might be however, is that what Hill came up with here is much more of a retro (even for the day it was released) commercial rock album than anything approaching metal. Although with Demon-mate John Waterhouse providing guitars, bass and backing vocals, the similarities to their old band are still more than passing.

Hill was always a powerhouse vocalist and in this setting he positively thrives, an almost Roger Daltrey meets Bruce Springsteen vibe in evidence. Just listen to his stunning performance on the brass infused "Old England's Eyes (New England Sky)" to hear him almost out boss The Boss! And in fact even lyrically and musically there's seems to be a link to the "wake up for the people" Springsteen has so long relied on. Elsewhere "Dance Of Life" feels like a pumped up version of The Stranglers, while "No Way Back" provides a glistening commercial metal edge. "Glasgow Boy" is a nod to glory days gone by that hits all the right notes, just as "21st Century Calling" somehow adds a more jaunty bounce to an already upbeat album. And all that's without mentioning the utterly addictive album opener "Hyperactive (Welcome To The Real World)", which simply refuses to leave your head.

As a reasonably short album the addition of four demos to this reissue is a welcome one. Oddly they come from the 2012 Demon album, Unbroken , although with none of the four having made that album itself, or available elsewhere, they do add a lot of value. The driving "All Around The World" and the poised and confident metal meets rock of "Hell Bent For Glory" especially good in a classic Demon style. Somehow the four tracks feel totally separated and yet undoubtedly linked to the man album, which predates them by some 15 years.

I really can't recommend Welcome To The Real World highly enough, the classy, poised heavy rock it contains a real joy. Hill's vocals are on fire, his song writing is spot on throughout and his backing band deliver time and again. Put simply, if you're looking for songs that pack a mighty punch in the most considered and crafted of manners, yet always feel heartfelt and organic while containing lyrics that pass comment on the real world alluded to in the album title, you'll find them all right here.


Track Listing
1. Hyperactive (Welcome To The Real World)
2. Old England's Eyes (New England Sky)
3. Dance Of Life
4. Nothing Left To Lose
5. No Way Back
6. Glasgow Boy
7. Mysterious Days
8. Stay Outta Heaven
9. 21st Century
10. The Great Divide (A Song For The Miners)
Bonus
11. All Around The World
12. Heroes
13. Hell Bent For Glory
14. Sole Survivor

Added: June 26th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Demon official website
Hits: 1769
Language: english

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