Night Demon – “Live Darkness” 2CD / 3LP (Steamhammer / SPV)
Oh wow, this just might be THE live album of the year! I mean, I knew that Night Demon were good having seen their sophomore “Darkness Remains” receive worldwide critical acclaim and being voted best up and coming band by Metal Hammer Germany, not to mention playing all the major summer festivals from Wacken to Bang Your Head and Rock Hard. But I didn’t know they were this good until hearing “Live Darkness” – a triple disc of pure true metal heaven in every sense of the word!! Clearly the extensive mileage on the road has honed Night Demon into a well oiled machine, but man, you just have to check this out, cos it’s just killa!!! Celebrating their accomplishments so far by playing a special show in their adopted second home of Cleveland to a packed house, you couldn’t get it any better on the 23 charged tracks of this monster release. The sound alone was enough to get me excited, full of energy and capturing the essential energy and ambience of the show, not forgetting the sterling performance of the band themselves, who put in nothing but a precision note perfect set that clearly prove they are well on the road to something higher. Joined by the rabid Beachland Ballroom crowd and underground guests like Athenar of Midnight on ‘Evil Like A Knife’, Jarvis Leatherby (vocals/bass), Armand John Anthony (guitar), and Dusty Squires (drums) pull out all the stops to give it all to you on this one. From the epic riffs and chugging rhythm of ‘Dawn Rider’, Leatherby tells the tale before the huge, air punching chorus hits with just the right measure of melody from Armand’s warbling guitars – enough to induce the Cleveland crew into chanting along! On ‘Save Me Now’ the atmospheric keyboard intro leads to a swanky rolling groove resplendent with some very suave guitar breaks from Armand once again culminating in a massive chorus brought home by Leatherby’s ballsy bass, not forgetting Dusty Squires unflappable beats. Turning it on NWOBHM style with ‘Life On The Run’ the pace once again picks up on this rocking chugger with a stellar chorus made up of a massively catchy riff laced crucially by some very cool harmonies along with a galloping Maiden style passage mid piece before racing up to a speedy ending – sweet! A utterly killer set and bringing it to a boil for me was ‘Black Widow’ with its jumping NWOBHM riffola and melodies courtesy of Armand’s stoked guitar and an absolutely air punching chorus – which Cleveland duly did. “Live Darkness” is metal for muthas, and then some!