DEMON — The Unexpected Guest (review)

DEMON — The Unexpected Guest album cover Album · 1982 · NWoBHM Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
"The Unexpected Guest" was the album that took Demon from one of the many bands of their time and transformed them to masters of their craft. This album is easily one of the best Heavy Metal albums that, to me, ranks among great masterpieces from heavyweights like Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Saxon.

The album is a loose concept album about a seance that goes horribly wrong. "Don't Break the Circle" kicks things off on a fabulous note, featuring some of the best performances by both Dave Hill and Mal Spooner. Things continue on a strong note with "The Spell" and "Total Possession" both in terms of music and concept. "Sign of a Madman" is another great tune that has been a live favorite that the band features in their repertoire even to this day. It also has the first prominent underlying sounds of keyboards, which foreshadows the things to come for Demon.

"Victim of Fortune" and "Have We Been Here Before?" are the two more straightforward tracks that remind me more of the style from the band's debut album but with a lot more maturity, especially in the guitar work from Mal Spooner. The latter is easily the most commercial track off this album and it did made me cringe when I heard it for the first time. Many spins later and I actually enjoy it a whole lot more. The song does continue the story line but with a slightly cheerier sound.

"Strange Institution" returns the album to a serious note and sounds to me like an improved version of "Father of Time" from their debut album. "The Grand Illusion" and "Beyond the Gates" are two strong Heavy Metal compositions that would have easily been highlights on any other NWoBHM record of the time, but they kind of get lost among all the other gems here.

"Deliver Us From Evil" closes the album on another highlight and features a reprise of "Don't Break the Circle" theme. This is a perfect ending to the concept and thus completes the circle. I highly recommend "The Unexpected Guest" to all fans of Heavy Metal as this is as good as it will get. Note that this was just a beginning for Demon as the band went from one career highlight to the next.

***** star songs: Don't Break the Circle (4:43) The Spell (3:41) Sign of a Madman (4:31) Strange Institution (4:47) Deliver Us From Evil (4:41)

**** star songs: Total Possession (3:51) Victim of Fortune (4:41) Have We Been Here Before? (4:42) The Grand Illusion (3:44) Beyond the Gates (4:19)

*** star songs: Intro: An Observation (1:24) Outro (0:41)
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