Saint Deamon – Ghost
Released: September 2019, Ram It Down Records
It’s been 10 years since their last release, Pandemonium, which was my number one album for 2009. To quote lyrics from the new album, “The Deamons are back, with metal we always attack…”
Originally, SAINT DEAMON hit my radar in 2008 amongst a number of releases by Frontier Records, only to find out it was the new band for bassist Magnus ‘Nobby’ Noberg (NATION, DIONYSUS – bands I love) and Ronny Milianowicz (SINERGY, DIONYSUS). The band and label have parted ways since the 2009 album and SAINT DEAMON has set sail with a new label, Ram It Down Records.
Ghost opens with a jovial, nautical ditty “Captain Saint D”, which was released as a single with a proper video (i.e. not a lyric video) ready for audiences to join in whistling and cheering along.
The nautical artwork and opening track could lead you to think that Ghost is a concept album, however “Call My Name” picks up the traditional power metal style that continues throughout most of the album with strong, memorable melodies, varying lyric themes written by singer Jan Thore Grefstad (HIGHLAND GLORY, Norway’s The Voice contestant), which leave multiple ear worms even after only the first listen.
While one of the slowest songs on the album, the title track “Ghost”, is a power ballad in the true sense – strong melody and emotional delivery that doesn’t make you want to slash your wrists – the lead break and ending provide a change making the song one of the strongest on the album.
The stand out track for me would have to be “Hell is Calling”. It’s fast, a little less polished in the verses and has a killer, fast, double kick drum filled chorus provided by Jarle Byberg (URGEHAL, SO MUCH FOR NOTHING, BLÅHØ).
With a substantial listening time of over an hour, the album offers some diversity from the predictability traditional power metal can have, with a touch of progressive metal, a hint of vaudeville/carnival waltzing and even a splash of flamenco.
There is a curiousness to a couple of the songs, especially “Somewhere Far Beyond”, where I get a sense I’m listening to early, Andre Matos era ANGRA. I can’t pick one distinguishing reason why – the shocking news of Matos’s death is still raw; the way the melody progresses up a scale; the layering of the melody and harmony vocals; or Grefstad’s higher register?
As the songs are written by guitarist Toya Johansson (CASTILLION, Celine Dion – yes, that’s a weird one), you’d expect the music to be dominated by guitar with multiple lead breaks and guitars dominating the mix; however, it’s not the case as the songs have equal emphasis in melody and vocals which is so important in power metal, and while there’s no separate keyboardist in the band, the music includes a respectable amount of keyboards in the arrangements, especially in “Journey through the Stars”.
My only gripe about this album (and I do this for every album that has this) is the last piece is a wind-down slow one; in this case a short instrumental. I want a blood-pumping last song that has me so fired up, it makes me hit the repeat button to play the CD over and over again.
1. Captain Saint D
2. Call My Name
3. Return Of The Deamons
5. Limelight Dreams
6. Hell Is Calling
7. Earth Is Alive
8. Land Of Gold
10. Somewhere Far Beyond
11. The Exodus (Part II)
12. Journey Through The Stars
13. Break The Sky
Jan Thore Grefstad – vocals
Toya Johansson – guitars
Nobby Noberg – bass
Jarle Byberg – drums