Out Now

(Steamhammer/SPV)

 

Welcome to the lost art of trad metal.

Imagine the embodiment of a patch-clad denim waistcoat thrown over a battered leather jacket. Imagine an early 80s mixtape inspired by a Friday night in with the late, great Tommy Vance. Imagine what metal might have sounded like had time stood still the day Geoff Barton coined the NWOBHM acronym.

Night Demon won’t win any prizes for originality. In fact Darkness Remains doesn’t even try to be different. It’s part Priest and a splash of Maiden with a hint of Raven and lashings of early Leppard. It is also, by some stretch, the best metal album of the year.

The Californians’ take on classic metal is utterly unapologetic in its attempt to ape everything that made NWOBHM such an adrenaline rush of a genre.

First time around tracks like Welcome To The Night, Life On The Run and the brilliant Black Widow flash by in a riff-fuelled blur. Second time around these killer tunes will have you racing for the reference books to double check none are covers of classic metal anthems conceived 35 years hence. On the third listen all three – and more – will convince all but the most cynical of critics that this is metal’s future wrapped up in its past.

Maiden Hell might go too far with its slavish list of references to the greatest living metallers but at least it proves Night Demon know their stuff. And they really do.