Saint Deamon
Pandemonium

Swedish metal with all its forms and branches has been in an exceptionally flourishing state for the last decade or so, and I dare to claim its Power Metal scene would be the real pick of the basket for any first-timer to the genre. You no longer need to turn to the pathfinders like Helloween, Gamma Ray or Blind Guardian, as there are lots of far better propositions in the stock these days, and many of them are found nowhere else but in Sweden. Formed by the ex- Dionysus members, drummer Ronny Milianowicz and bassist Magnus “Nobby” Noberg, guitar virtuoso Andreas “Toya” Johansson and Norwegian singer Jan Thore Grefstad of Highland Glory’s fame, Saint Deamon (named after the literary ghost rider S. Deamon) have already thrilled the Power Metal community twice for two years in a row, first with last year’s highly acclaimed debut In Shadows Lost From The Brave and most recently with their sophomore album Pandeamonium. Quite frequently, if a band is heaped with a lot of praise, it usually serves as a powerful incentive for this band’s further work, and on the wave of such success are often born real gems. Opportunely, Pandeamonium is one such gem.

Even if Saint Deamon is just another Power Metal band, they still sit at the top of the metal Olympus, right there with Masterplan, Ride The Sky, Nocturnal Rites, Bloodbound, Harmony, Tarot, and such. Most of the emphasis is certainly placed on songwriting and arrangements rather than on Power Metal pomposity or instrumental pageantry. The songs are pretty simple in structure, yet exclusively rich in sonic décor, with luxurious guitar harmonies, ruthless lead punches, strong rhythms, unexpected turnabouts and, of course, highly contagious melodic lines. If you happened to hear the debut, you will recognize the band’s style immediately, for this is Saint Deamon through and through with Ronny and Toya’s joint talent of composers literally blazing here with every move taken. Suffice to say that Ronny co-wrote such an epochal metal anthem as Primal Fear’s “Seven Seals” whilst Toya participated in the creation of some immortal songs for Sinner and Ride The Sky. Moreover, both of the men had their fingers in the pie that was the Football World Cup metal hymn “Glorious” featuring such world’s leading singers as Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear), Tobias Sammet (Edguy), Edu Falaschi (Angra) and Timo Kotipelto (Stratovarius). Consequently, the masterful songwriting is probably the very cherry on the cake that make Saint Deamon such a tempting case.

Thus, whichever song from the new album you pick, it’s likely to captivate you off the bat with its unspeakably infectious tunes, juxtaposing here with gorgeous arrangements and enough heaviness to keep your “metal fire” burning throughout the disc’s duration. The songs differ from each other in tempos and melodies, ranging from mid-tempo blasters (“Deception”, “The Only One Sane”, “Fear In A Fragile Mind”, “Fallen Angel”) to pretty fast and the album’s heaviest numbers (“Eyes Of The Devil”, “The Deamon Within”) to beautiful yet quite ponderous half-ballads (“Pandeamonium”, “A Day To Come”). “Eyes Of The Devil” is most probably the model piece that could serve as an apt introduction for the uninitiated, as it owns all of the features peculiar to the band. Along with the thunderous riff accelerations and abrupt free falls into more serene heaven, there is some threatening fatality in the melodic theme that permeates through the entire track and holds the listener completely rapt. The solo parts are electrifying to say the least, and the song itself is a powerhouse showing to all naysayers that Power Metal is far from being the spineless fluff they tend to associate it with. Also very good is the title track that throws in some Hard Rock/AOR sensibilities into the mix with its sing-along chorus, solemn bass-based verses, mesmerizing keyboard licks and fascinating solo from Toya. Of the tracks that vividly remind me of why I liked the debut so much, I would call “The Only One Sane” with its moderate gallop and all-band choir effort, and the show stopper “Fear In A Fragile Mind”, harbouring one of the greatest melodies in the album’s entire arsenal.

To sum it up, with Pandeamonium Saint Deamon have definitely made a successful attempt to clear the high bar set by the debut, proving once again that contemporary Power Metal is not the genre that should be overlooked by so many prejudiced metal fans. Want to make sure? Then seek out this album immediately. I can hardly believe you will dislike it, even if Power Metal is just of occasional interest to you.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Igor Stakh
August 20th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Vance

    I saw these guys at ProgPower in Atlanta a couple of years ago and to be honest I couldnt stomach more than 2 or 3 songs, this stuff is totally generic. I mean maybe it was due to Power metal overload, after sitting through some atrocious sets by Elvenking and Iron Savior, I guess I am just not a very big fan of the power stuff (not sure why I even went, haha), anyways, as always I appreciate the review, this site is one of the best.


  2. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    ONE of the best?????? ;) what are the others? right now, theres not a ‘big name’ site out there than can compete with totd’s 10-14 high quality reviews A WEEK. Metalreview is the closest


  3. Commented by: ceno

    To Vance, a couple of years ago this band was still in its embryonic state with a different line-up including the vocalist. I’ve never seen them live but what they do in the studio is as good as the review says. Btw, lots of bands, even the greatest ones, suck live but kill studio-wise.


  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    As always, a ridiculously detailed and informative review. The fact that you are from Russia and yet your command of English is better than millions of people in our own country who can’t craft a coherent email, well, that’s just silly. Education system = win.

    anyway I want this album really badly and I am resisting the urge to preview it.

    also I have some homework to do because although I have a touchy relationship with power metal (sometimes it’s too happy, too triumphant or too shrill) I always love it when I find a band that I can really enjoy. Like Saint Deamon. So I will be checking out some of the other ones you mentioned.


  5. Commented by: ceno

    I’m a power metal agent. :lol: Thanks for your kind words, gaba. Btw, I’m from Belarus, not from Russia, but damn me if it isn’t nearly the same! :lol:


  6. Commented by: gabaghoul

    doh my bad. see? ignorant Americans. :)


  7. Commented by: MaidenFan

    The mighty Ceno strikes again! LOL! Great review and I whole heartedly agree with your assessment of Saint Deamon. A truly great up and coming Power Metal band!!!


  8. Commented by: Blackwater Park

    “ONE of the best?????? ;) what are the others? right now, theres not a ‘big name’ site out there than can compete with totd’s 10-14 high quality reviews A WEEK. Metalreview is the closest”

    There could be even more reviews pouring in with a few more members on the team! *nudge, nudge, wink, wink* :lol:


  9. Commented by: faust666

    well i see the IC is all here…


  10. Commented by: ceno

    as well as most of the treehouseofdeath. :wink:


  11. Commented by: Blog › Teeth of the Divine Staff Picks of 2009 › Teeth of the Divine

    […] 15. Saint Deamon – Pandaemonium […]


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