DEMON BITCH – Hellfriends CD

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Demon Bitch is a traditional heavy speed metal band based out of Detroit Michigan, USA, with a taste for the strange and obscure realms of the genre. The history of the band dates back to 2011, when long-time friends Mars Weston (guitar), Logon Saton (vocals), and Samuel Ceckowski (the “Drummer Master Commander”) came forth to cement their breed of heavy metal with their self-titled 3-song demo, which was released in 2012. The line-up was promptly solidified with the integral addition of a second guitarist, Solon Saton, which allowed the group to play various live shows, and a US East Coast tour in 2013. The line-up is completed by Navin R. Drebinson on bass. In 2014, an EP entitled “Death Is Hanging…” was issued.

With “Hellfriends” Demon Bitch have just released their debut album (on vinyl) via High Roller Records. “I feel like a lot of newer bands are often in a hurry to release an album as quickly as possible after forming,” reflects vocalist Logon Saton. “Personally, I’m glad it’s taken us so long to put out a proper album. We’ve all had a chance to grow as musicians with each other during the first five years as a band, but with only having put out a demo and an EP within those first five years, most of the growth has been kept a secret until now, I feel. And it’s kind of like living in a cellar for your formative years and your parents not allowing you to go outside and see the daylight, and then when you’re all grown up you go outside and you just have this fucked up view on life and you don’t know what’s right and what’s wrong and sweats dripping from your forehead and your hands can’t stop shaking, your eyes haven’t quite adjusted to the light yet, and you just go totally fucking insane because you don’t know how to act in public.”

Vocally, a song like “Warning From The Skies” from “Hellfriends” bears traces of “Queen Of The Reich” era Queensryche. Is that comparison wide off the mark? According to the band’s vocalist, this does not seem to be the case: “That is a great album. A lot of people also mention John Arch from Fates Warning and Harry Conklin of Satan’s Host and Jag Panzer. All very flattering comparisons and very inspirational vocalists, however, I’ve never intentionally channelled any of these guys through our music, but if that’s what comes to mind when people hear Demon Bitch, then I say cool! I’ve also always been really inspired by the vocalist on Angel Witch’s “Screamin’ And Bleedin'” and “Frontal Assault” albums as well, very powerful stuff.”
When listening to Demon Bitch, very early Warlord also comes into the equation. Omen as well. Are Demon Bitch playing raw, complex, Epic/Speed Metal? Or how would Logon Saton rather describe his band’s individual style? “I know the Drummer Master Commander will love that Warlord comparison. Such a cool band! Well, you can call it Epic/Speed Metal, if you like, I’ll give you the go ahead on that one! In a lot of ways you could say we are pretty raw and we’re definitely a complex band, we don’t know when to stop and if we did I still couldn’t promise that we would. Our mantra for “Hellfriends” has always been to take it over the top and break all chains with as few compromises as possible. Our over-the-top pacing at times might suggest speed metal, but you’re correct, we do love the more flavourful and dramatic Epic Heavy Metal like the bands you mentioned as well, and I think both descriptions really come through in songs like ‘Beneath The Ice Caves’.”
“Devil Love” is a really fast song, the fastest on the album…? “That’s the only song that was re-recorded for our album and appeared on one of our previous releases,” states Logon Saton. “‘Devil Love’ was on the first demo and I think if you compare the two versions side by side, this version would prove to be a bit faster. The album version also has a slightly modified, extended solo section, which wasn’t added until Solon Saton came into the picture. As for the fastest song on the album, I’m not so sure… It’s very fast, but ‘Beneath The Ice Caves’ might be the fastest on the album all around, it’s just a relentless song through and through. I don’t think any song on the album would really be considered slow, come to think of it, they all break into breakneck speeds one point or another.”

“Hellfriends”, in contrast, is a bit more versatile (and technical). “Hellfriends is a song about freedom in rock and roll,” says Logon Saton, “and breaking the chains every chance that you get.”

“The Microdome” does feature acoustic guitar picking, so Demon Bitch is not about playing at 200 m.p.h. all the way through, right? It’s quite a varied number… “It was actually a pretty different experience for us recording that song because of how fresh it was to everyone at the time of entering the studio,” states the Demon Bitch vocalist. “That song was written maybe a week or two before we recorded it – where we are normally used to rehearsing our material for months or even years before recording it. Mars entered the studio with Sam and they tracked the drums and guitar for it and then Mars actually had to skip town like the next day for work. So it left the rest of us kind of just listening to the song where it was at this point and thinking okay, what other ridiculous shit can we do to this one? Solon and I, we kind of had carte blanche over it at that point and we just did whatever the hell we thought would be cool. Incidentally it turned into this totally off the wall epic. I’m pretty proud of that song and how it turned out.”

“Lyrically, I’m inspired by a lot of things,” continues Logon Saton on the different lyrical themes on the album. “The supernatural and the unknown, the devil, etc. is a big part of it, but also swords and sorcery and fantasy stories come into play here and there. On the album, ‘Warning From The Skies’ is about UFO encounters and ‘Fortunes Told’ is about mysticism and treasure-hunting. The songs ‘Beneath The Ice Caves’ and ‘The Microdome’ are actually both loosely inspired by a short swords and sorcery story that I never quite finished writing. Maybe I’ll get back to that one day. And ‘Hellfriends’ kind of breaks away from the occult themes for a minute to bring forward a song about the most important topic of them all: freedom in rock and roll. I don’t usually look to get too overly poetic in my approach to lyrics, but I do love music that evokes a certain mood and I think that lyrics should contribute to that.”

The recording of “Hellfriends” was done D.I.Y. style as Logon Saton explains: “The recording was actually done in our basement with our great friend Matt Prestone of Ghost Tower behind the controls. When we decided we were going to record the album finally, Matt was the first and only person to come to mind that might be insane enough to take on the task. He provided the time, attention to detail, and the know-how that made recording this album possible, and he even appears on the album with a couple of glorious guest-solos. When we initially talked, he was a little apprehensive and told me he can only promise us what he knows best, which is something comparable to a late 1980’s demo sound. He doesn’t typically record bands, other than his own projects Ghost Tower and Dungeon Beast. But with Ghost Tower being one of my all time favourite heavy metal projects of the last ten years, I was always confident that the album would be everything I could imagine if we put it in his hands. We were much more concerned with the recording experience allowing the freedom and friendship of rock and roll to flourish, rather than to be inhibited by a larger budget better-quality-but-more-chains experience, if you know what I mean. Could we have recorded at a larger studio? Yes, of course. Could we have recorded at another studio with a Hellfriend? Not one like Prestone.”
Demon Bitch come from Detroit. What’s the current metal scene like in Detroit? Historically, are there any local or regional Detroit metal bands which have influenced Demon Bitch to play metal in the first place? “There are a lot of really great bands that came out of Detroit and Michigan in general,” gleams the vocalist. “And I feel like the greatest part is that they’re all cursed with this hint of obscurity and strangeness that makes them an acquired taste and unfortunately, prevents them from gaining any significant national or international attention, that is until some Greek label realizes their greatness 30-40 years down the road. It’s the Michigan curse, we just can’t settle down and we can’t be chained. Enchanter, Longings Past, Salem’s Wych, Steel Vengeance, Medieval, the list goes on. Coven 13, the band that released the “Worship New Gods” album in ’87, still plays local shows and those guys rule. I’m on an never-ending quest to find more Michigan gems forgotten by time. As far as the current scene goes, there are definitely some great bands from the area, but there is a shortage of Heavy Metal right now, aside from our friends in Harbinger and our alter ego White Magician. Some great metal bands to check out though are the black/thrash assaulters, Sauron, they just released their newest album “Conquest Through Attrition” and it’s great. And there’s some more great black and death metal to be found by Isenblast, Wanderer Of The Waste, and Perversion, if that’s your kind of thing.” Well, no, for me personally, it isn’t. I’d rather stick to bands like Demon Bitch!

Released by:
Dystopian Dogs (USA), 2019.


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