Demoniac - The Fire And The Wind
Osmose Productions
Power Metal With Blackened Vocals
8 songs (42:50)
Release year: 1999
Osmose Productions
Reviewed by Kyle
Archive review

If you research the past projects of the members of DragonForce, you'll find two very interesting bands, both of them completely different from each other and unique in their own way. The one you'll most likely uncover first is Shadow Warriors, a side project formed by ZP Theart and Sam Totman for a short while when DragonForce still went by the name of Dragonheart. This band is the most standard of the two and was supposed to be a "Secret", with ZP and Sam disguising themselves as ninjas with stage names, and the band played melodic power metal, something that shouldn’t be all too surprising. Their only album released was a demo in 2001 entitled Power Of The Ninja Sword, and one of the tracks from it, Feel The Fire, was re-recorded as Strike Of The Ninja on the Special Edition of Ultra Beatdown. As you’ve probably figured out by now, Shadow Warriors is all about ninjas.

The second band you'll find is called Demoniac, which was formed in 1993 and featured DragonForce members Sam Totman and Herman Li. As expected, they also play melodic power me… wait. What’s this? They play BLACK METAL?! Say it ain’t so! Oh, but it is, and Demoniac, hailing from New Zealand, is an odd sort of BM band. They played straight-up black metal on their 1994 debut Prepare For War, and I’m not quite sure what happened on their second album, Stormblade (I still can’t find it anywhere, for download or otherwise), but somehow they remarkably made the jump from playing no-frills black metal to full-on POWER METAL on The Fire And The Wind after releasing only two albums before it. It’s power metal with blackened vocals, sure, but it’s power metal nonetheless, and as ridiculous as this concept sounds, it actually works, and it works surprisingly well.

First off, I will say that Demoniac is a band that should NEVER be taken seriously. And why? Because look at the album cover, that’s why!

Demoniac play a style of power metal on The Fire And The Wind that is little more than a stripped-down, bare bones version of DragonForce with a screeching black metal vocalist rather than ZP Theart’s high-pitched power metal singing. There are no keyboards, there are no epic choruses (That's kinda difficult to pull off without singing, ya know?), but there are, however, lots of lead guitar harmonies that showcase the melody on all of The Fire And The Wind’s eight songs, many of which being quite flowery, especially on the tracks The Eagle Spreads Its Wings, Demons of The Night, Sons Of The Master, and the title track, all of which will be stuck in your head for days, if not weeks on end. While this is undoubtedly power metal, a handful of blackened riffs are present throughout the album, and the track Daggers And Ice could almost pass as one of Demoniac’s earlier works, if it weren’t for the good dose of melody still present. There’s also some punk influence in the chord progression and some of the riffs (Especially on Myths Of Metal, which is essentially a melodic, blackened punk track), and even in the lyrics; Demoniac Spell’s lyrical content consists of talk about beating up faggots that aren’t into metal. No, I’m not paraphrasing. Yes, you have to turn your brain down quite a bit when it comes to the lyrics, as they are, more often than not, incredibly nonsensical (Those darned New Zealanders) and, at times, quite foul. The chorus of Myths Of Metal spouts cries of “Hitler Metal: Sieg Heil!” for no apparent reason. But as I’ve said before, this album isn’t meant to be taken seriously at all, especially when it comes to the lyrics; the band even states this in the song book. The lyrics are ridiculous to the point of being hysterical, as is the music, which I’m 99.9% sure is the band’s intent.

Lindsay “Behemoth” Dawson provides vocals for Demoniac, and it’s overbearing black metal shrieking at its best (Or worst, depending on how you look at it). For those of you who have listened to DragonForce’s Inhuman Rampage album, this is the same guy that did those background screams on various tracks throughout that record. He sounds pretty much exactly the same here, which is either a good or a bad thing, depending on your tolerance for blackened vocals. I don’t have much of a problem with his voice, but I am certain that it can be the most annoying thing in the world to the ears of the right person. I’m not a huge fan of the production on The Fire And The Wind, as the guitars sound too weak and the vocals too strong. There are also weird little guitar gaffes all over the place, and I’m sure they could’ve easily been fixed. I can tolerate all this, but what really irritates the hell out of me is that the guitarists make several attempts throughout the album to try and play tremolo-picked riffs in harmony, and fail miserably. Sam and Herman: If you can’t do it, then DON’T DO IT. DragonForce naysayers will LOVE beating up on this album, and will most likely cite it as proof that without all the studio wankery, DF's guitarists can't play for shit. This isn't necessarily true, as this album was recorded TEN years ago and Sam and Herman have improved much, but the DF trolls will look for any excuse.

There are probably a dozen little other things wrong with The Fire And The Wind, but the album is so goddamn catchy that I couldn't really care less. This album is incredibly fun to listen to, especially to DragonForce fans, and DF fans of all people should know that you shouldn’t take music too seriously; if you do, then you’re going to seriously hate this album. In fact, I can’t think of a more perfect example of a love-it-or-hate-it album, and that's why I'm only giving this a 50, though I'd like to give it at least a 70. I hope that in the future, DragonForce will release remastered or even re-recorded versions of tracks from Demoniac, because this is a fun little record, and a little (okay, A LOT of) polish could make it THAT much better.

Killing Songs :
If you like one, you'll like 'em all.
Kyle quoted 50 / 100
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