Tad Morose - St. Demonius

Tad Morose St. Demonius cover
Tad Morose
St. Demonius
Despotz Records
2015
7.5
Tad Morose return, not too long, after their “return” with the pretty awesome “Revenant”… with their eighth album and second one with Ronnie Hemlin behind the mic. While the band made quite a mark with their Urban Breed sung quartet of albums, they’ve always been a consistent band and have never released a disappointing album. Arriving some ten years later “Revenant” has somewhat divided people but most were positively disposed towards it. Now two years later “St. Demonius” sees the band returning with pretty much the same line-up and outlook, but somewhat going for a darker, moodier, somewhat doomier sound. It works well while I liked some key songs in “Revenant” that weren’t that slow, here the focus is on the towering slower melodies that the guitars forge that are quite brilliant…
 
“Bow to the Reaper’s Blade” bursts out with a quite energetic introduction that has you expecting something quite storming but somewhere past the first minutes it slows down only to pick up some speed again as its signature heavy riff, replays… it’s dynamics are a little unusual for an opener, but both the melodies and the theatricality make it work quite well. It also feels a lot longer than its mere four minutes duration.
 
“Forlorn” maintains the heaviness but is quite constant in its tempo without any deviations and works because of its bridge/chorus, which are very melodic and catchy. It’s great to see a band doing this heavy prog power well, but then again Tad are veterans of the scene but thankfully not “washed up”.
 
“Where Ignorance Reigns” continues with some pretty amazing riffs that bring to mind some of the best of Shermann/Denner from the “Mercyful” days. Hamlin is no King Diamond obviously but his “passionate” delivery, in a style that sounds like a lower “Ripper” doing classic metal and not grunts, is pretty cool!
 
“Remain” slows down things and is driven by a heavy riff, but by this point the album while it has some good songs begins to sound somewhat to similar between songs without great deviations, which could potentially tire…
 
Thankfully the band recognizes the need to step up the game and “Black Fire Rising” is picking up some speed, while maintaining the overall style, Hemlin continues to sound pretty damn impressive and the chorus really saves face on this one in a big way, despite not being typical.
 
“Day of Reckoning” again falls back to a slower tempo, which however is quite muscular and once again out of the heaviness Hemlin rises along with the “dead” on the day of reckoning to save the day...
 
And while I was half expecting “The Shadows Play” to drop speed to a minimum, it’s actually, pretty fast, all things considered, while it maintains the general heaviness. It wouldn’t have felt out of place on “Modus Vivendi”…
 
“Darkness Prevail” sort of takes a step back both in heaviness and intensity and while it still feels as part of the album, it loses a bit of appeal because of its somewhat more laid back approach… I suppose however it might work as another way to alleviate any ear fatigue from similar sounding songs, tempi etc…
 
“Fear Subside” is also follows a similar philosophy and doesn’t impress much, but doesn’t outstay its welcome either.
 
“Dream of Memories” while maintaining the somewhat more prog and more reserved musical character, has Hamlin again going for it, with a delivery that’s more intense than in the couple of preceding tunes… that regaining the listeners focus and attention, a couple of songs before the end.
 
“The World is Growing Old” drops the speed and goes for creating a contrast between the heavy riffs and the vocals that float all over… it manages to come off as quite imposing and Hemlin’s passionate crescendos towards the end, make it really come off in a big way.
 
Last but not least, “Your Own Demise” might be a bit more modern sounding, but it still encapsulates all the band stands for heaviness, excellent melodies and vocals, that you’ll simply love… it’s a bit bizarre choice for a second “single/video” as it’s not that fast or the most representative song of the entire album, but still it stands its own ground without even having to try too hard.
 
While I do prefer “Revenant” a tiny iota more than “St. Demonius”, I do find that Hamlin is not a bad replacement at all for Breed, even if he’s not a match for him vocally. He fits the band and the band itself is again on the map making albums. While the fact that ten years off the grid have “slowed” them down and didn’t help them popularity wise, it’s good to see bands like them, Serious Black, Darkology, even the re-activated Morgana Lefay, which seem to be flying the flag for this heavier, darker, sort of metal…