Album: Source (Re-issued demo)
Label: High Roller Records
Genre: Heavy Metal
Release Date: September 14, 2018
“Source”, the debut self-titled demo was originally released at the end of 2016. Now, almost two years later, the demo is getting a well deserved re-issue to bring the music to a wider audience. This is a short demo, 3 songs plus a cover of Styx’s “The Serpent is Rising” (not included in the original demo) clocking in at just under the 30 minute mark.
The band kicks of the demo with the first song, ‘Crossroads Calling’. A string chorus opens the song before changing to a thundering riff and a bass rhythm that sets up the stampede like pace for the song. King Diamond like vocals, sans the theatricality, crown over the song giving it a wonderful kick of a classic 80’s heavy metal sound while still adding a fresh take on an old formula. The band fires on all cylinders as they make their way towards a wonderfully melodic guitar solo towards the end of the song before changing up the pace with a mid-tempo section before again ramping up to finish the song with a Maiden-esque dual guitar riff and a chorus of instruments.
I am fully invested into the music at this point and, before I even have chance to give my neck some rest from the over the top headbanging that I do, the remaining feedback form the last song bleeds into ‘Let Him In’ before changing into one of the most frantic riffs of the demo. The riffs continue to develop with some melodic riffs thrown in to add spice to the music before launching into even more solo action. As if the Mercyful Fate influence was not highlighted enough at this point, the band, much like in the first song, switches up tempos again into a half time riff after the third solo in the song. Manic laughter in the background serves to give the music a more sinister tone, while allowing it to express the song’s subject matter before transitioning head-first into the last section and last solo of the song.
So far, this band can do no wrong. Melody and classic technicality are their forte and this again becomes apparent with the last song from the original iteration of the demo. ‘Wither’ kicks in much the same way the previous two songs. There is no need to set up the atmosphere, all that has already been taken care off. Power chords are played and sustained over charging drums as more melodic guitar passages are used. Organs are used to add texture to the song after the solo starting at the halfway mark. The music keeps on thundering without showing any signs of slowing down finishing with more melodic riffing and a short solo before closing out the main part of the demo and transitioning into the cover song.
I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include the cover of Styx’s ‘The Serpent is Rising’ in the review since it is more of a bonus song and it is very separate from the rest of the music, but I feel it is good enough to warrant a mention. Given that Styx is more of a straightforward rock band with a very different sound than the 80’s heavy metal played earlier, the tone of this song is quite different. The band decided to take a step back from their previous music in order to give a proper homage, but they manage to do so while still keeping their own sound. More attention is given to vocal harmonies while still giving the song a gruff metal feel. The band manages to play a very faithful cover of the song although I do wish they had added more of an organ/keyboard sound and played around with it in order to catch some of that trademark Styx sound while maybe pushing the song a bit further than the original.
Source manages to do a lot in the short amount of running time dedicated to the demo. Pulling in a vast array of sounds ranging from Iron Maiden and Mercyful Fate, the band manages to recreate a bygone sound and they manage to do so in a very exciting way. I remember being in my early teens and discovering this heavy metal sound that would, eventually, help me transition from classic rock to the more underground sounds of the modern metal scene. This demo, while adding a nice bit of a nostalgic factor of my listening habits of my earlier life (granted I am only in my early twenties now), manages to create music that would fit very nicely in the record collections of many classic heavy metal fans. If you like 80’s heavy metal, even passingly, please do yourself a favor and listen to this demo.
Let Him In
1. Crossroads Calling
2. Let Him In
4. The Serpent Is Rising (Styx cover)
Total Playing Time: 27:30
My witty bio here.
Favorite subgenres: Prog, Death Metal
Bands I really like: Coheed and Cambria, The Dear Hunter, Opeth, Between the Buried and Me, Leprous