The Neptune Power Federation – Le Demon De L’amour Review

Love songs are not metal’s forte. The last album I reviewed, as far as I can remember, that devoted significant attention to the subject was Hemina’s Venus, near the start of my tenure.1 That makes Le Demon De L’amour the first in over half a decade. If I hadn’t already been familiar with The Neptune Power Federation, I might’ve been skeptical. But Memoirs of a Rat Queen was the highest 3.5 I ever gave. I still wonder whether it should have been a 4.0, and a big reason for that was the album’s pinnacle love song, “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You.” So if anyone could ‘reclaim the love song,’ as the band proclaims, it’d be these eclectic Aussie rockers.

First single “My Precious One” gave me much to look forward to. It’s snappy, it has a rocking riff, and the chorus is fantastic, with frontwoman Screaming Loz Sutch giving an impassioned performance that immediately worms its way into the brain. While it doesn’t have the depth to hold up to repeat back-to-back spins, it elevates the album when listened to in sequence. Other highlights arrive at the end; the fun and upbeat “Madly in Love” with its cheeky na-na-na-na from the background singers is directly followed by closer “We Beasts of the Night,” a duet with Chris Penney of the band Private Function, which functions as an almost direct tribute to Meat Loaf. It starts off with a bit of mawkish, cheesy balladry before bursting into a gloriously 80’s, pentecostal-inspired piece of hard rock reverence.

But Demon is not the slam dunk I had hoped for, and the first sign was the opener’s length. Given that NPF shares significant DNA with the likes of AC/DC and Heart, an 8-minute track threatened overreach, and indeed, “Weeping on the Morn” doesn’t manage to enthrall from start to finish. It’s a rough way to start the album, but at least it’s a mistake the band does not repeat, as the remainder keeps it brisk and tidy. What’s worse, though, is the stretch of middling tracks in the middle, none of which are particularly memorable, even if they’re not outright bad. Compared to its predecessor, where every track was catchy and addictive in ways that were as different as they were cohesive, it’s a significant letdown.

That’s not to say that Demon is a bad album. Far from it: even the lesser tracks are still fun, not in the least thanks to Sutch’s expressive and powerful voice, the modern day equivalence of Ann Wilson at her most volatile. The guitars have grit and punch, the songs have drive and energy, even the lesser ones (“Stay With Thee” has a particularly rollicking bassline, for example). The hooks just don’t hook as much as I would like from this type of music. This is exacerbated by the background singers. They have a near-constant presence, but their parts aren’t written dynamically. Instead of supplying extra layers to the melodies and harmonies, they’re frequently filler, and actually diminish the impact of the main vocals. Contrast for example with “Madly in Love,” where they directly contribute to the depth of the songwriting, and it makes a big difference.

This review perhaps comes across a tad harsh, the product of expectations set too high. Alas, I can only write from my own experience, which encompassed one much-loved album and one extremely promising single before receiving the full promo. At its best, Le Demon De L’amour lives up to its predecessor completely. At its worst, it’s still a fun rocker, but one that’s forgotten rather quickly as well. The impression of the whole lands somewhere in between, a solid throwback hard rock album that doesn’t quite transcend. As an introduction to The Neptune Power Federation, few fans of this style will be disappointed, but I also know they can do a whole lot more.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 160 kbps mp3
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: February 18th, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. Which remains one of my more embarrassing reviews, as I completely misinterpreted much of the album and was called out on it by the band in the comments.
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