Review Summary: The band that never was.
For many fans, The Demos
has always been an elusive enigma. Back in the days when Borland was searching for a broader sense of purpose and worth in the music industry, he laid claim to a number of heterogeneous projects during his hiatus with Limp Bizkit. Eat the Day, however, was one such budding idea that never quite blossomed. The band unfortunately fell victim to being a stepping stone for much greater ideas later in life, but it’s interesting to know that in 2003 Borland had written a number of demos that were intended to be the foundation for a band that would never come to pass. After a myriad of failed attempts at finding the right singer, Borland would finally accept that Eat the Day was never going to get off the ground, subsequently shelving these very instrumental demos to pursue other ventures. For the elite Wes Borland fan though, The Demos
has always been a cause for speculation: just what would Eat the Day have sounded like? Well, it took nearly twenty years and a pandemic to get them to surface, but the demos have finally seen the light of day; and it’s a situation where the intriguing backstory brings more enjoyment to the forefront than the actual product itself. Make no mistake; this is not a bad album. Notwithstanding, The Demos
is a prime example of why it’s not always a great idea to release intentionally archived material.
Ultimately, it falls on what you’re looking for with this release. If you’re looking for something that really highlights Wes’ incredible songwriting abilities, unique guitar playing, or something that broadens his imprint already, you’ll be in for diluted disappointment. If you take it for what it is – which is a time capsule of hazy ideas that would eventually mature and vocalise themselves better on the terrific Black Light Burns project – you’ll get a decent amount of enjoyment out of it. Suffice it to say, you’ll hear a brace of alt-rock and metal tunes with the usual psychedelic undertones and undeniable grooves that we’ve come to expect from Borland’s music, but there’s a persistent niggle in that these songs really need a singer on them to make them uniformly flourish. This is essentially an album’s worth of material written for a singer to knock them out of the park, and that’s exactly what it feels like. The Demos
is bursting with big crescendos, the twinning of punctuated grooves and expressive guitar effects, and the odd moment of subverted writing – i.e. the “Whalephant”, which sounds like a mid-90s Primus tune (complete with deadened, but articulated, guitar noodling and ambient trills) mixed with post-rock sensibilities. Indeed, there’s plenty of vivid colour being injected into these compositions, but again, it doesn’t help that these songs feel inherently written for a singer in mind; it’s not like Wes’ excellent solo album, Crystal Machete
, which was designed as an abstract movie score concept. So, while it’s a fun ride for die-hard fans, there isn’t a great deal left to keep you coming back time and time again like his other works.
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A
ALBUM STREAM//PURCHASE: iTunes or Spotify