Released: 2002, Hammer Records/Source of Deluge Records
Demonlord are a speed/power metal band from Hungary, with HELLTRUST being their second full-length release since forming in 1997. This album is actually 3 years old by now but never saw a wide release till March of 2005. It’s a shame the album is only now getting the release it deserves as this is a fine slab of speed/power metal.
As mentioned above Demonlord play speed/power metal, not unlike mid-period Blind Guardian minus some of the thrashier moments . Vocalist/bassist Balázs Jurásek has a habit of sounding a fair amount like Hansi Kursch at times as well, which definitely doesn’t help to downplay any similarities Demonlord have with Blind Guardian. Though Balázs does tend to sound rather unsure of himself, I can only assume his voice will get better in time.
The album opens with a rather pointless intro in “Helltrust” but it doesn’t last too long before “Quo Vadis?” kicks in. “Quo Vadis?” opens the album nice and fast, I rather enjoy the two part verse that opens the song with the first half using open chords while the second going towards a fast riff moving along with the double bass. The chorus is of the epic styled gang chorus that so many bands implement but it’s not overly clean and bombastic, not offsetting some of the grit that’s present in the song. “Ruins in the Dark” is more standard heavy metal, a bit upbeat and not too fast. It’s simple, catchy and bounces along with sporadic double bass. While “The Strongest One” starts off with a choppy, almost thrash riff when it changes over to fast straight double bass and a more standard riff to follow along. The opening riff does show up again later used between verses to break things up quite nicely.
“Darkest Place” uses a very catchy chorus riff to open the song before moving into a slightly more pedestrian verse. Most of this song seems to be used as a build up for the chorus as the other sections of the song aren’t necessarily pushing the song forward but have a way of propelling the chorus right into one’s subconscious. Starting off exceptionally soft, compared to the rest of the album, “Still Alive” comes in with acoustics and Jurásek’s lower register. While the acoustics sound great, Jurásek doesn’t really have the voice to pull off much of this softer section. When the full band kicks in and tosses the acoustics at 2:30 the song moves into mid-paced rock mode, definitely worthy of at least a few head nods. Pure speed metal madness kicks in instantly for “Something Arrived”. That riff is just pure mid-80’s speed metal. The overuse of the gang/choir parts is a bit unnerving as the band didn’t really need to resort to it here. I think it would have been better sung straight with a single voice.
Demonlord are definitely off to a great start if this is only their second full-length release. There are some slight problems with the CD, generally these come from the vocal choices which sometimes go beyond what Jurásek can perform. While he doesn’t have the widest range he does have a lot of character in his voice that, for the most part, helps him overcome his limitations. I’m definitely recommending this album to anyone looking for some new power/speed metal and everyone should be on the lookout when Demonlord release their next album, hopefully within the next year or two.