Sunday 12 January 2014

Demon Eye - Leave The Light (Album Review)


Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 24/1/20114
Label : Soulseller Records

Leave the Light, Album Tracklisting :
1). Hecate 04:52
2). Shades of Black 03:39
3). Secret Sect 04:06
4). Advesary 04:13
5). Edge of a Knife 04:08
6). Witch’s Blood 02:46
7). Fires of Abalam 05:42
8). Devil Knows the Truth 04:25
9). The Banishing 04:34
10). From Beyond 03:30
11). Silent One 04:26

Bio :

Taking their name from one of the darker tracks of the Deep Purple catalog, Demon Eye consists of four men, two New Yorkers, two Southerners, and one shared love for old school metal.
Demon Eye’s heavy grooves and thunder rhythms channel the doom and crush of Black Sabbath and Pentagram, and the fist banging shred of early ‘Maiden. They have shared the stage with the likes of Loincloth, Mike Scheidt (YOB/Vohl), The Sword, Hour of 13, Pilgrim, Samothrace, Kyng, Uzala, Mount Salem, Colossus, Thunderlip, Salvación, Horseskull, Solar Halos and are now presenting their first slab of demonic hard rock, entitled ‘LEAVE THE LIGHT”!

The Band :

Bill Eagen | Drums, Vocals.
Paul Walz | Bass.
Larry Burlison | Lead Guitar.
Erik Sugg | Guitar, Vocals.

Review :

You could say that Demon Eye represents the flowering of an American take on the spirit of the Scandanavian Retro Rock bands.  Combing the warm vibes of 70's jams by Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Mountain and others with a rough and ready smattering of the early metal roar of Pentagram and Pagan Altar thrown in for good measure. It's a thoroughly American take on the sound and though the style is only just germinating, Demon Eye represent the epitome of what the American throwback band can do.  How they got there is a different matter entirely.

Their story is an odd one.  The band that would come to be known as Demon Eye began life as seventies tribute / cover band Corvette Summer whose "set generally includes the music of: Thin Lizzy, Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, Blue Oyster Cult, Kiss, UFO, Alice Cooper, Free, ZZ Top, and many, many more..." (Source).  So the ingredients were all there to begin with.  Meanwhile, it turns out frontman Erik Sugg has made quite a name as an incredibly popular children's entertainer in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, teaching toddlers how to read through the power of rock & roll, and if you don't dig the hell out of this story, you simply have no soul.  None of this however, suggests that the band would blast into the doom rock world with an absolute scorcher of a debut E.P., which was released in early Spring of last year.  The eponymous E.P. generated a decent buzz and those with one ear closer to hell didn't fail to notice.

One of those folks was Jorn, owner of Souseller Records.  The label is about to release Demon Eye's full-length debut, 'Leave the Light' on January 24.

Now, just to get this out of the way, 'Leave the Light' features 11 tracks, including all 6 of the songs found on the demo E.P., none of which have been re-recorded (but have been re-mastered it seems).  That may put you off slightly if you were on the ball enough to have already grabbed the E.P. (which has since been taken down from bandcamp), but it also leaves room for 5 brand new songs that are the equal of what you've heard before.  If you were never able to grab the E.P. and all of this is new to you, well then you're in for one hell of a blast.

The album kicks off with a pair of familiar stunners, "Hecate" and "Shades of Black", both of which featured on the band's original offering.  "Hecate" in particular is in the running for best song by the group, and it's a tight, spectacular race.  "Hecate" is a terrific way to start off the album, putting one of the band's best feet forward, it captures everything the band is capable of with strong pausey dynamics and blazing leads.  You can tell with a song like this that the time the band put in under the guise of Corvette Summer was not wasted.  I suppose when you spend so much time playing all-time classic heavy rockers week in week out, some of that will begin to rub off on you.  The hard rock knowledge of a lifetime is in those fingers.  Case in point: "Shades of Black" which sounds like the ripping single Deep Purple never got around to releasing.  Shades of "Black Knight", "Fireball" and "Speed King" spill forth like a truckload of marbles rolling down a steep hill, the band picking up a terrible momentum that they are unable or unwilling to relinquish throughout.  This band is all about energy, powered by positive vibes.

The next three songs on the album are the section that will be the most exciting to existing fans of the band.  "Secret Sect" which the band has chosen to promote with a new video.  As you can hear in the linked video, the band has lost none of its terrible momentum, nor lead vocalist Sugg's ability to bore his way into the center of your mind with a sticky sing-songy chorus.  The wage of catchiness is simplicity and it's a rare new band indeed that's mature enough to recognize this essential fact.  "Adversary" and "Edge of a Knife" round out this trio of new offerings, keeping the skids of high energy rock n roll greased with some potent riffs and clever drum arrangements culled from the playbooks of only the best seventies hard rock acts.  "Adversary" in particular gets the blood pumping.  The way Bill Eagen gets this revving at full speed with an open hi-hat, then plummet the listener off a cliff with some heavy tom pounding ... well, you can't help but sit up and take notice.  And there's just no escaping that chorus either, then again, crafting a perfect chorus is just something that seems to come naturally to Sugg.

The rest of the album consists of three "old" songs, two new ones and then closes out with one final "old" one.  "Fires of Abalam" hasn't aged poorly, it's still one of the better songs I've heard in the past year.  This is about as slow and understated as the band gets and it still moves at a good clip, menacing and unsettling in its lurch.  "The Banishing" and "From Beyond" round out the selection of new numbers on 'Leave the Light'.  These last two offerings up the raunch factor, the tones are slightly heavier, more pugnacious and Pentagram-like in places, even ranging into Thin Lizzy like guitar harmonies between Sugg and lead guitarist Larry Burlison.  The final "old" one mentioned earlier?  Another contender for best one of them all.  "Silent One" closes out the album on just about as high a note as "Hecate" helped to open things on, summing up the album succinctly, menacing, chugging, pounding and shredding in turn.

In the end, the decision to include the entire suite of songs from the debut E.P. with a fresh set of five new ones wasn't a good one, it was a great one.  It's not like there was a weak one in the original bunch, the six of the E.P. tracks were enough to certify this a classic Soulseller release.  That they were combined with the five new ones is icing on the (devil's food) cake.  In a way, I envy those of you who missed the E.P. the first time around, but if that describes you, you have to get your hands on this album if you would answer "yes" to any of the following questions:

Do you like the demonic smirk of evil and forbidden good times?

Do you like heavy guitars with shredding leads?

Do you like uptempo doom boogie music with catchy choruses and clean vocals?

Words by : Lucas Klaukien

You can buy it here from the 24/1/2014 or preorder