Nightrage - Demo 2000
Despotz Records
Melodic Death Metal
11 songs ()
Release year: 2020
Nightrage, Despotz Records
Reviewed by Ben

In the ancient times of pre-internet, before bedroom produced albums began being pumped out day after day, bands would scrape and save to make primitive recordings called "demos." These were "demonstration" releases intended for a very select group of people to listen to. Usually, demos were made for record labels in order to "shop" their band, or they were made when interest from a label was initiated and they wanted to hear something new. Then there's some bands who released self financed demos that kick ass like Blind Guardian and their early pre-Blind Guardian Lucifer's Heritage demo tapes, or the godly Maiden and their legendary Soundhouse Tapes demo. Sometimes, demos are even made just for the band themselves to have a frame of reference for their actual recording. What appeals to old codgers like me about demos are that they are generally raw as hell, done in very few takes, and they sizzle with a reckless energy. This also has much to do with the fact that many first demos are also the band's first time ever in a recording session. That red recording light used to mean something. It used to mean time and money were being spent so you better perform well.

This official issue of Nightrage's demo sessions (sans the last demo they did which includes early versions of The Tremor and The Glow Of The Setting Sun) is a nice little stop gap release for die hard fans until the new full length, brand new album is released next year. When I say die hard fans, I mean it. This is a demo, it is rough around the edges, but it is a very cool and interesting look into the creative process. The two biggest factors that will either attract or detract casual folks from this release are the vocals and drums. Vocals are done by a young Gus G, the power metal guitar phenom, and the drums are a very obvious drum machine. Although they at least programmed it with somewhat interesting fills and patterns. While Gus' screams are serviceable for a demo, they don't have the menacing growls that would come with singers like Tomas, Ronnie, Antony, and Jimmie. What will draw fans to this are the guitars and the differences between these demo versions and the final renditions that would end up on official studio releases. Every song on this Demo 2000 has been released, albeit a couple of them were bonus tracks on a pretty limited collection of the first two Nightrage albums, Vengeance Descending.

The first thing to take note is that if you get the physical release, you get a decent little booklet with cool pictures and song info. This continues a trend of high quality album booklets from the band. No cheap, crappy, flimsy two pagers here! There's cool pics of Gus and Marios and you see early Greek versions of handwritten lyrics. In the liner notes, Marios also explains that this demo was sent to uber producer Fredrik Nordstrom who had his pickle mightily tickled by the songs, and so the ball began rolling towards the eventual debut album, Sweet Vengeance. Guitarwise, there is plenty for guitar nerds to listen to here. Because this is a demo, the guitars have a rough hewn quality to them that just singes and sears. There's also an abundance of extra riffs that are all over pretty much every song. Black Skies, originally a bonus track for the Japan release of Descent Into Chaos, is completely different than the final version. The chorus is the same, but the structure, the tempo, the attack are all completely different. I prefer this one! Poems, the demo version, begins acoustically instead of the pummeling riff we're used to, and then it also has a super melodic lick after the new (old?) intro. Hero In A World Of Demons has a totally different middle section. Where Tom Englund's part usually is, there's a slew of black metallish riffs. I don't want to go into a track by track comparison here, but it is kinda interesting to note that some of the song titles were shortened to one word titles.

Demo 2000 is actually a nice little release for the hardcore fans. This could have very easily been something that just got shit out there into the world to try and recoup losses from the donkey show that has been the year 2020. But it's not. Funny thing is, even though this is obviously a drum machine, it actually sounds like a "professionally recorded" album done today! Also, if you're just interested or curious about songwriting processes or how things can change from demo to final version, this is a really cool and illustrative example.

Killing Songs :
Macabre Apparition, Black Skies, Poems, Frozen Halflight Atmosphere, Ethereal Veils And Shadows
Ben quoted no quote
Other albums by Nightrage that we have reviewed:
Nightrage - Wolf To Man reviewed by Ben and quoted 89 / 100
Nightrage - Insidious reviewed by Khelek and quoted 88 / 100
Nightrage - Wearing A Martyr's Crown reviewed by Khelek and quoted 87 / 100
Nightrage - A New Disease Is Born reviewed by Ben and quoted 84 / 100
Nightrage - Descent Into Chaos reviewed by Ben and quoted 82 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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