Last call for the demon raid


Release year: 2022
Label: Wreckin’ Bones Records

If you are wondering what kind of music Finnish Demon Raid play, you only need take a look at the tracklist. The album kicks off with a nice, slightly tex-mex tinted instrumental Demonabilly – and if someone still isn’t clued in, the first song proper Psychobilly Band should be a sufficient answer.

Yes, indeed, psychobilly is the name of the game. “We don’t care if you think we suck – we don’t give a fuck” sing the band on the already mentioned Psychobilly Band. Now, be that as it may, we here at Only Death Is Real HQ obviously care, since we are going to subject the band’s latest album to our patented and trademarked evaluation procedure. This process basically entails us popping the album into the player, listening to it and writing something about it.

Anyhow, I digress. Let’s dig in.

Demon Raid are already on their third album, and the members have experience from other bands as well, so we’re not talking greenhorns or rookies here. That much is obvious from the very first note. First of all, obviously these guys know how to handle their instruments. Secondly, it’s also quite obvious these guys know how they want to approach psychobilly, and proceed to do that with determination and precision.

In the stylistic spectrum of psychobilly, Demon Raid land somewhere on this side of the second wave bands. In comparison to the originators of the genre, there’s basically no rockabilly per se to be heard on Last Call. Like the second wave bands, there is a considerable amount of punk mixed into this music, but the prominent slapping bass anchors this firmly into psychobilly territory. But it’s harder still. On the other hand, Demon Raid don’t go all-in into punk or metal territory like some do; the choruses don’t sound like The Misfits and though using liberal amounts of distortion, the guitars don’t sound too heavy or abrasive.

The band themselves drop names like Nekromantix as reference. Well, if you only count the two first albums of the Danish-turned-US psychobilly legends, then maybe. The later, more melodic albums are pretty far removed from this. Personally, I would say that if harder Klingonz, older Koffin Kats and stuff like that is your idea of good psychobilly, then this is your cup of tea.

In other words: often very speedy, aggressive but still melodic psychobilly is what’s on offer here. The prominent tick-tick of the slap bass races like the heart of a zit-faced teenage boy getting laid for the first time, the guitars saw away with speedy, straightforward riffs, and the choruses are full of catchy melodies.

Sensibly, it’s not all about going as fast as possible. Every now and then Demon Raid will slow things down to a speedier midtempo, allowing the vocal melodies – it’s the vocals that carry the main responsibility for bringing melody to the songs – to come to the fore.

Still, by and large, Last Call belongs to the faster quadrant of psychobilly. Even at their slowest, the trio that comprises Demon Raid go forward with a steady jog that’d have you running a full marathon in three and a half hours. Or something like that.

Overall, Last Call is a very solid album. As already alluded, it’s stylistically coherent, and the guys can handle their instruments. And write a decent tune. Despite having a nice knack for melodies, perhaps the one thing Demon Raid are still missing are those super-catchy songs that’d stick in your head for days on end. After having listened to the album even a number of times, you’ll most likely find yourself digging it, but might not really be able to say which song is which.

Despite this one shortcoming, Last Call is a thoroughly enjoyable and fun album. It is also quite obviously Demon Raid’s best so far. Every album has seen them improve on their basic blueprint, and Last Call is a step forward from 2021’s Final Day. Not a major or revolutionary step, but still very clearly a step forward.

At this stage the only thing Demon Raid are lacking is that final, finishing touch. Those one or two “hit songs” you could easily single out as focal points of the album. In every other sense, Last Call as an album and Demon Raid as a band offer first class psychobilly of the gay 20’s.

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