Saint Deamon – League Of The Serpent Review

By comparison, the four-year gap between this, Saint Deamon’s fourth album, and the band’s last album, Ghost, pales in comparison to the ten-year gap between recordings from 2009 to 2019. Yet it still feels far too long given the little-frequented space this band occupies between classic Euro power and more traditional heavy metal.

Undoubtedly, a highlight inextricable from the Saint Deamon sound is one Jan Thore Grefstad, who has a keen ability to ride the riffs here, regardless of how light or crunchy they may be at any given time. The vocal control this guy exercises is impressive. There is a distinct quality to his voice that sounds both remarkably graceful and authoritative. I’ve always heard a bit of Andy Kuntz from Vanden Plas, but that could be a vocal control thing. Irrespective of any similarities, Grefstad has been and remains a huge draw. Half the battle is selling these choruses and he does it with ease.

The other side of the Saint Deamon coin is the riffs. There’s an undeniable Euro power lightness to some of what the band throws into the mix. But there’s also an underlying heaviness courtesy of the not infrequent crunch of the guitars. Rarely does a band meld these distinct tones as well as Saint Deamon. Silver Bullet does this to some extent, but Saint Deamon is rooted more firmly in traditional Euro power. The heavier elements are an additional layer and not the commanding presence they may be in other bands that play with a more modern sound.

Release date: April 21, 2023. Label: AFM.
To their credit, the band has always been great about not overstaying their welcome. League of the Serpent is no different—eleven songs, only one of which clocks in at over six minutes (“A Lie to be Undone”). There are tonal shifts and progressive elements on “Lord of the Night.” There’s an almost AOR feel to “The Final Fight.” And they waste no time kicking things off with the super catchy if somewhat repetitive “At Break of Dawn.” It’s not quite “a little bit for everyone territory,” because Saint Deamon is quite obviously a power metal band playing power metal, but the diversity in the band’s songwriting is nonetheless notable. That they balance the tonal shifts without abandoning the power in power metal is largely what has sold me on Saint Deamon.

League of the Serpent is another successful outing for Saint Deamon. And I don’t say that casually but victoriously, because even among genre enthusiasts this band warrants more attention. There’s an underbelly to this stuff. And I get it—aesthetically, none of this is particularly pretty. The cover art looks computer-generated. The logo is a lot to take in. And this is not a supergroup but a band. Yet very few Euro power bands sound as immediate and catchy as Saint Deamon without sacrificing some of that underbelly.

Posted by Chris C

  1. The kind of reviews I love and miss around here. Straight to the point without artsy fart sniffing paragraphs trying to be clever. Well done and look forward to checking this out!


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