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Demon Eye : Tempora Infernalia

Demon Eye's latest: "Iíve heard this stuff before, but I havenít heard it this good very often..."

Some years ago I saw Witchcraft (Sweden) on a U.S. tour. I was struck by how unexpectedly ferocious they were live compared to on record, fervently attacking material that, on the albums, had seemed genial and folksy. The retro-rock/proto-metal movement of which Witchcraft were forerunners is all but unavoidable these days, and the American quartet Demon Eye loosely walk the same trail. But the sheer energy with which they lay into things distinguishes them from the get-go, as they successfully capture the above-described live energy on their album, 'Tempora Infernalia'. This is just one quality of many that make their sophomore album an electrifying 40-minute tribute to golden-age hard rock.

Whatís to like here? Just about everything. The new album is a solid step forward from the previous yearís full length, itself an enjoyable effort that echoed Troubleís 'Manic Frustration' quite a bit to my ears. Demon Eyeís mission continues to be tight and catchy songs built of action-packed unison guitar lines, clear singing with memorable hooks, and some slick hi-hat/cymbal interplay from drummer Bill Eagen (I wonder if heís a Warlord/Fates Warning fan?). Influences from vintage Pentagram and Budgie at their brightest and fleetest show up as expected. The up front Zeppelin-like production is dry but fitting, taking just a bit of sheen off the guitars, allowing (I think) Erik Suggís vibrato-laden voice room to shine without overpowering the rest of the mix.

ďDoomĒ tempo doesnít show up until the fifth track, 'Poison Garden', whose early vocal lines follow the guitars aíla Ozzy before the song expands into a lush, three-dimensional tour de force. Demon Eye do occasionally fall back on the much-trodden Sabbath shuffle ('In the World, Not Of It'), but theyíre never stuck in one rut for more than a few bars; and itís never a problem considering the wealth of ideas on display. The channeling of Traditional Doomís aura at faster-than-usual speeds makes 'Tempora Infernalia' the kind of album that can appeal as much to fans of punk as metal. Itís also notable that while these songs regularly offer potential openings for an extended jam or trip through psychedelia, Demon Eye choose not to go there.

The focus on composition and arrangement over stylistic aesthetic is Demon Eyeís great strength. The requisite nods to rock and roll, blues, and NWOBHM in their hands seem not to be imitated sounds but something seeming fresh and new again. Yeah, Iíve heard this stuff before, but I havenít heard it this good very often. The emphasis on catchy hooks might, to a critic, seem superficial, but Iím all for more of that. They help make this one of the most immediately memorable albums since Satanís masterful comeback 'Life Sentence'. To earn themselves any notice in a crowded musical field, Demon Eye surely knew they had to bring their best efforts to the table, and thatís just what theyíve done. One of the best in recent times, 'Tempora Infernalia' deserves to turn heads near and far.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. End Of Days
2. Listen To The Darkness
3. I'll Be Creeping
4. See The Signs
5. Poison Garden
6. In The World, Not Of It
7. Black Winds
8. Give Up The Ghost
9. Please, Father
10. Sons Of Man

Duration : Approx. 40 minutes

Visit the Demon Eye bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-10-03 by Mark Rzeszutek
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