:: The Plague ::
Origin unknown, 1983
Rock with a message - Demon's third LP
For a band who only last year were toying around with comic strip horror show images in a tongue-in-cheek stage show Demon have grown up quickly.
Always a band to build their songs around concepts their third album paints a frightening and depressing picture of an uncaring and unfeeling Orwellian future for humankind.
Demon have matured musically as well. Augmenting their usual five piece line-up are the inventive and melodic keyboards of Andy Richards, adding an extra dimension to what is an intelligent progression and expansion of their previous heavy rock format.
Richard's keyboards smooth off the rough edges, add an element of the grandiose to create a sci-fi atmosphere bringing to mind strange futureworld landscapes.
The band themselves, Mal Spooner, guitar, Chris Ellis, bass and Les Hunt, guitar, provide the creative backing in the rock mould for the emotive vocals of Dave Hill.
Hill's voice roams over a wide range of intensity and carves out an atmosphere for each song - sad and melancholic or cynical and angry.
The eight songs for the LP diversify from the almost ballad-like Fever in the City and The Only Sane Man to the harder edged Step Too Far and the title track itself.
The Writing's On The Wall admirably illustrates the whole tone of the LP's subject matter - cynical disillusionment with those in power, a bitter indictment of the "survival of the fittest" philosophy currently in fashion.
Sobering and serious subject matter indeed - this could turn out to be one of 1983's most controversial LP's - but it's not all doom and despondency. It's a musical adventure, a tableau of how heavy rock can progress to become more than just escapest repetition of cliche.
In their best work yet Demon have proved they have something to offer to help push back the frontiers of rock music.