Demon tweaked their sound for their third album, The Plague. So much so in fact, that the label that released Demon’s first two albums, Carrere Records, rejected The Plague. The LP was subsequently picked up and released by Clay Records.
The songwriting duo behind Demon was Dave Hill (vocals) and Malcolm Spooner (rhythm guitar). After two albums of “blue-collar” hard rock/metal, Hill and Spooner moved in a different direction, this time incorporating more keyboards (by Andy Richards), and trying for a more atmospheric feel. Call it progressive, call in ambitious, call it artsy. Just don’t call it very exciting. Not that Demon ever really sounded like a band that should be called “Demon” anyway, but on The Plague, the name is completely misleading. The lyrics for this album shifted completely into the sociopolitical realm (set against a sci-fi backdrop of some futuristic Orwellian world of suck). I guess The Plague is kind of a concept album in that sense. (Beware the concept album, they often foster half-assed ideas, long instrumental “interludes”, and a tremendous amount of “fluff”. Just listen to Judas Priest’s Nostradamus album for a prime example of a concept album that doubles as a steaming pile of horse feces.)
Though I loved Demon’s first two LPs, I am not particularly enthralled with The Plague. I find it too sparse, and… (I hate to say it)… a bit DULL. Only The Writing’s On The Wall gets my blood pumping to any real degree. Other songs have their moments, but overall The Plague was an experiment that Demon didn’t need to try. I like this band, but this album is just “okay” at best. Side note: I always find it ironic that the use of synthesizers on many of these ’80s albums were supposed to make the music sound futuristic (or at least “modern”), but looking back, the synthesizers actually “date” the music more so than anything else. Once you hear those synthesizers, you know it’s from the ’80s. Another side note: the LP package was quite ambitious, with pages of artwork and lyrics (see below). My score: B-