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Demon - The Plague
(Clay - 1983)
Category : misunderstood
4,66 stars

Prior to 'The Plague' Demon released two good straight forward Hard Rock albums. So, when 'The Plague' arrived, with its very different approach and the song's more complex structures, metalheads were confused. Some were seen running for the hills wildly flailing their arms around and shouting unintelligable things, for this is not a Hard Rock album, but a slab of full-fledged Progressive Rock.

The keyboards that got introduced on the previous album 'The Unexpected Guest' take a more prominent role here, up to the point that they sometimes push the guitars off center stage. While such a use of keyboards isn't a surefire way to create great songs, in this case they certainly help to augment the sense of drama of this pessimistic tale about war, disease and mankind's final downfall, for not only is this a Prog album, on top of that it's also a concept album. That must have brought quite a few metalheads in a catatonic state as well (if they weren't already flailing their arms around in the hills). But the fortunate few that managed to keep their mental assets intact might have noticed how the album cleverly changes moods. Sometimes it sounds defiant, sometimes melancholic, and quite often there's a depressing feeling of despair and a sense that no matter what we do, we are but mere puppets in the hands of fate.

Demon has released ten or so albums to date, but 'The Plague' still stands as their most ambitious and most complete (*). So I think the only reason why it met with such hostility can only come from the fact that it isn't what most people expected and they couldn't make the mental leap. The end result was that this Progressive masterpiece simply got dismissed as a failed and pompous Hard Rock album, which it totally isn't. "Pearls for swine", I believe the expression is.


(* note = honesty forces me to say that I haven't heard most of the recent Demon albums yet. I make this one remark based on reviews of a few different Prog Rock fanatics)

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