DEMONS DOWN “I Stand”
By Colonel Angus
Frontiers Music is the go-to label if you are looking for some quality melodic rock. They have released so many great records that I pretty much look forward to anything they put out. DEMONS DOWN is a new band that is part seasoned veterans and part less familiar rockers. The make-up of the band consists of three HOUSE OF LORDS alumni with Jimi Bell, Ken Mary, and Chuck Wright taking on the guitar, drums, and bass parts respectively. Wright is also remembered for his contributions to QUIET RIOT and Mary has played with quite a few rock bands as well. Joining these veterans of the rock/metal world are Chilean vocalist James Robledo and guitarist Francesco Savino. The latter hails from a band called FALSE MEMORIES who I have never heard of but based on this record, I most certainly will check them out.
All of this doesn’t mean a thing if the music (and more importantly the songs) aren’t there. The reason that almost all of the material on “I Stand” works is because melody and the songs are in the driver’s seat and everything else is in the back supporting both those aspects of each of the tracks. I know that there will be a natural reaction to compare this as just another HOUSE OF LORDS album with a couple of different members and a different name but “I Stand” is much more than that. Sure, there are parts that naturally sound like that band but with 3/5 of the line-up creating this new project, it would be hard to ignore that heritage and inspiration. While I hear parts here and there that have that HOUSE OF LORDS sound (mostly on the title track), the majority of the album tries to take these elements and sprinkle them among the tunes.
While the opening of “Down in a Hole” has that familiar sound, once the band really gets moving, the song reminds me of lighter-weight early DIO. The short but sweet “Where Will Our Tears Fall” is a good tune but the chorus has a very Eurovision sound that while it’s done well, is not my cup of tea. “Disappear” also suffers a little (very little to be honest) from that same European melodic rock sound but I must admit that with repeated plays, it is starting to grow on me. The rest of the disk does not have missteps with “Book of Love” and the epic “Follow Me” rising to the top as best of the bunch. The former has a great thumping bass throughout courtesy of Wright that gives it a great bottom end and driving rhythm. One of the things that I appreciate is that “I Stand” is not front loaded with all the best tunes. The record ends with a trifecta of top quality rockers in “To the Edge of the World”, “Search Over the Horizon” and “Only the Brave”. Many bands put the best up front and then as the record continues, the songs start to fade in quality but here, they end the disk on a high note and it just makes the listener want to start the whole thing over again.
All in all, DEMONS DOWN released a great first record and I hope they decide to continue and explore additional musical flavors on their next collection of material. The vocal performance of Robledo and the guitar work of Savino fits perfectly with the elder statesmen of melodic rock/metal. Frontiers Music has not failed me yet and “I Stand” is another winner and a great addition to their roster.