Area51 – Daemonicus

Area51 – Daemonicus - 4/5

And onto the final new band of the week that’s been getting regular play. Have you ever got tired of the number of blatant Nightwish clones? Well apparently this Japanese band have, and whilst the female vocals and symphonic aspect remain intact, the gothic ideals have been replaced with neo-classical guitar riffs and solo’s, and even the odd bit of keytar (keyboard guitar-style soloing) and for the most part, they succeed in putting a fresh spin on a stagnating style.

The album opens with an introduction which sounds like it could have been plucked straight out of one of Beethoven’s symphonies, but they keep it short at under two minutes, so as to not get bogged down and repetitive. My only gripe is that it doesn’t represent what’s to come and feels a bit out of place. Though since its such a good piece I’m rather glad it was. Its not until the second track we get a full blow of what they can do musically, similar to that of Ark Storm or Alejandro Silva (Read: quick, interesting, short-lived but lacking in emotion), mixed in between the vocals, where they play a quick but deep sounding riff.

The vocals here need their own explanation. She sings almost entirely in Japanese, and has a very high pitched voice which reminds me at times of Japanese pop (or the singing in the intro for many anime TV shows for anyone who’s into that). Its distinct, and can either be upbeat or slow and calm, depending on what’s required of them, and they either have a upbeat catchy tone to them, or in the ballad tracks, a soft emotion which carries surprisingly well.

Track four, “Venus,” arrives. Enter the first ballad track. I was apprehensive when I first saw how this was heading, little guitar work, a simple symphonic aspect, and a vocalist Ive only heard do upbeat. The truth is this song keeps up the high quality already set, even if calling it ‘metal’ of any sort remains a bit of a stretch, with a thick atmospheric emotion behind it which wouldn’t feel out of place in the love scene of a musical.

Enter the second-half slump. After a truly interesting and diverse selection of tracks, we have another 5 which do little to build on that. “Just Like a Prayer” has a fantastic riff and stands out from the rest,” and “Lord Knows” seems to roll up the entire albums sound into one huge epic, and add some male vocals (sung in English, and very good might I add) to the mix. Too often for the verse they simply play a quick low riff which tends to blur and sound like all the other riffs they’ve done. They performed some good solo work, and some truly excellent riffs, and it’s a shame they couldn’t do more of the same.

This is definitely one to appeal to fans of both neo-classical and symphonic power, looking for something new. Fans of one and not the other may be better served leaving the two styles separate. Nonetheless, this is a decent stab at producing something original, and results in a worthwhile album.

Highlights: Les Anges, Venus, Just Like a Prayer

By T. Bawden