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Saint Daemon: League Of The Serpent

Returning in 2019 after a decade away, Saint Daemon conjured up the album Ghost, which was solidly received by both the metal press and the band’s fans alike. A further four years down the path and they are back with new drummer Alfred Fridhagen (Mad Hatter, Metalite, ReinXeed and more) thumping the tubs on League Of The Serpent. In truth not much else has changed in those intervening years, the S-D sound one of chest beating bombast and power metal glory. If you need a fix of “whhooOOOaaAAAoooAAooooohs!” you’ll find them all here along with galloping drums, bulging riffs and burgeoning bass lines. Innovative this album is not, convincing it most certainly is.

Two aspects within the Saint Daemon sound allow this otherwise predictable album to stand tall and proud. The conviction with which this whole outing is attacked a thing of true wonder and the vocals from Jan Thore Grefstad utterly outstanding. Wow, can this man ever sing! He’s also perfect in this setting, with dynamics to handle the more melodic outburst of “The Final Fight” and its Pagan’s Mind like style and the presence to carry through the more Powerwolf (but with clean and clear vocals) of “Raise Hell”. Being honest, he’s the real difference maker here.

That’s not to say that the guitar work from Toya Johansson isn’t fiery, ferocious and pinpoint accurate when the need arises, or that the hammering bass work from Nobby Noberg doesn’t explode in all the right places. Where the weakness here lies is that even in a genre where distinction between bands can often blur uncomfortably, Saint Daemon struggle to convince you that you haven’t heard all of this before. That’s not an affliction unique to this outfit of course, and with the brooding “Lost In Your Sin” and more mystically Eastern flavoured “Gates Of Paradise” there’s a definite acknowledgement that a few different flavours need to be added along the way. However, when the latter then unashamedly hurtles into a Helloween like full throttle attack, the worry that those efforts won’t last all that long are brought into focus.

In fairness, a lot of the above assessment misses the point of League Of The Serpent. This music is pure escapism played with conviction and a huge sense of fun and while there are many acts who pummel hard with this particular brand of power metal, not all of them can do so with the belief and ability that Saint Daemon manage here.

Track Listing
1. At Break Of Dawn
2. League Of The Serpent
3. The Final Fight
4. Lord Of The Night
5. A Lie To Be Undone
6. Raise Hell
7. Lost In Your Sin
8. Gates Of Paradise
9. Load Your Cannons
10. Heaven To Heart
11. They Call Us Daemons

Added: August 11th 2023
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Saint Daemon online
Hits: 451
Language: english

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