SAINT DEAMON are no strangers to the European Power Metal scene, but they also havn’t had the exposure that other bands have had… until now.
I personally have been very excited to hear their debut on AFM Records where they can get the attention they deserve. If you’re not aware of this band, they have been around since 2008 when they released “In Shadows Lost from the Brave” and a year later “Pandeamonium”. They took a long break and in 2019 put out “Ghost”. The first two were on Frontiers Records and the latter was on RamItDown Records.
I first heard them on “Pandeamonium” and I was BLOWN away. You realize quickly that Jan-Thore Grefstad should be one of the first names out of your mouth when you talk about Power Metal singers. Range, strength, emotion, he’s on a different planet. I THINK perhaps the issue was that that album in particular wasn’t full-blown Power Metal, nor was it AOR either, so my guess is that they were too heavy for some, too light for others and they got stuck in Metal purgatory so to speak.
Regardless, “Pandeamonium” was a powerhouse album with amazing songs, I don’t care what you’re into musically, it was just a masterpiece. And not to take away from their first and last album, they were very strong albums as well and “League Of The Serpent” is similar to those albums on STEROIDS.
I know I’ve set myself up as a meg-fan of the band, but that generally means I’m even more critical of their work. I don’t go in blindly and love everything a band does because I loved their previous work, in fact, I’ve had several bands let me down recently.
SAINT DEAMON is not one of those bands.
From the first listen I noticed that the production was absolutely perfect and gives the band a MASSIVELY EPIC sound. It was mixed by Oscar Nilsson of Crehate Studios and mastering was handled by Tomas ‚Plec‘ Johansson. Hats off to them, I really havn’t heard something produced this well in awhile.
The first track and single “At Break Of Dawn” is a galloping Power Metal cut with some folk elements. I wouldn’t say it’s the best track on the album but it was a smart song to release first as it’s fits the current Power Metal scene perfectly.
The title track “League Of The Serpent” just hammers you over the head with Power, I hate the term “instant classic” but it’s a fitting way to describe it, great writing, great lyrics and and a perfect example of “Power Metal”.
“The Final Fight” brings you back a little to their “Pandeamonium” days with a chorus that sends chills up your spine and forces you to breath deeply and thank God for melody and harmony. A very inspirational anthem we can all relate to.
‘Lord Of The Night’ starts out with a cool groove that shows the diversity of the band. They aren’t afraid to use some more modern elements in the songs, but they do it tastefully as more of an accent to the music. They do something similar with “Lost In Your Sin” when they guitarist Toya Johansson shows his amazing range as a guitarist.
‘Raise Hell’ and ‘Load Your Cannons’… From the titles you can pretty much figure out what to expect and they deliver. These songs are going to be incredible to hear in a live setting.
“Gates Of Paradise” and “They Call Us Deamons” are in the same vein where the band just cuts through the atmosphere like a hot knife through butter. More great example of what Power Metal is all about, taking you on an emotional journey and great story-telling.
I would have to say that “Heaven To Heart” is the most beautiful song on the album. It’s still pretty heavy, but the AOR sensibilities of the band really shine through here. This is where Grefstad is at his best, he seems to know exactly where to take every note for maximum effectiveness. Norway might not be the biggest Country for Metal, but in my opinion, they have the best singer.
Perhaps the most impressive part of this album is the sheer depth, I’ve listened through several times and keep hearing different things. I have to give a shout out to bassist Nobby Noberg, formerly of another great band DIONYSUS and new drummer Alfred Fridhagen, who also plays in the killer band GAIA EPICUS. They really hold the album together. Their timing is so crucial for this genre and they nailed it.
I am going to have to give this album the highest rating I’ve ever given any album, a 9.5 out of 10 “Flaming Fists”. I have to give them a little something for the next album, but this is as close to perfection on all levels as you can get.
In conclusion, “League Of The Serpent” is 11 songs or pure Power Metal that never takes a break. You could literally mix up the track listing from top to bottom or in any order, it’s a pure masterpiece.
The Swedish/Norwegian melodic power metal band SAINT DEAMON returns with a new longplayer “League Of The Serpent” about three and a half years after their quasi-“comeback” album “Ghost”. It’s well known that SAINT DEAMON stand for high-quality sound with an individual touch (which is often hard to find in the power metal genre). Also “League Of The
Serpent” clearly shows the great quality of vocal wonder Jan-Thore Grefstad, guitarist Toya Johansson, bass player Nobby Noberg (ex-Dionysus) and new drummer Alfred Fridhagen (Gaia Epicus). Tracks like the upbeat first single “At Break Of Dawn”, the extremely catchy “Load Your Cannons” or the ear-pleasing melodic rocker “The Final Fight” are typical SAINT DEAMON compositions, in addition the band skillfully incorporates progressive nuances and makes “League Of The Serpent” an album that will be one of the genre highlights in 2023.
„The songs have all their characteristic Saint Deamon trademarks as on our previous records“, guitarist Toya Johansson states. „New for this record is that we’ve taken the rhythmic dimensions a step further than before. We didn’t aim for a drastic change when it comes to this but wanted to develop our polyrhythmic thinking, which I hope can be heard on some of the
„There was a fresh joint feeling of “urge of renewal”, bass player Nobby adds. „Not to break with the past just because of change, but trying to refine the essence of what we are and have come to be, and tweek the hell out of it.“
Vocalist Jan Thore points out: “This album has been written in many ways similar to how we made our debut “In Shadows Lost From the Brave” back then. The songs are all new and fresh, no older song ideas have been used. The album consists of everything you can expect from Saint Deamon. Heavy, fast-paced, slow, powerful and melodic – it’s all here. I really feel
that what you hear on „League Of The Serpent“ is the best version of Saint Deamon”.
Just like its predecessor „Ghost“ (released in September 2019), „League Of The Serpent“ was mixed by Oscar Nilsson in the Crehate Studios (Scorpions, Crash Diet, In Flames). This time mastering was handled by Tomas ‚Plec‘ Johansson (The Night Flight Orchestra, Nocturnal Rites).
Album track listing:
01. At Break of Dawn
02. League of the Serpent
03. The Final Fight
04. Lord of the Night
05. A Lie to Be Undone
06. Raise Hell
07. Lost in Your Sin
08. Gates of Paradise
09. Load Your Cannons
10. Heaven to Heart
11. They Call Us Deamons