100 Demons have been propelled to the forefront of the hardcore scene in light speed with the release of their self-titled sophomore album, due in part to a more streamlined songwriting approach and an incredibly dynamic production job by Zeuss at Planet Z, the same studio that spawned classics from Hatebreed, Shadows Fall, and Sworn Enemy. For the year or so following the release of their debut album, “In The Eyes Of The Lord,” which sadly made less of an impact domestically due to the overseas status of their label (Good Life), the band toured incessantly with the original lineup featuring acclaimed yet forlorn singer Bruce LePage with ex-Yuppicide bassist Steve Karp, who was also the main artist for both 100 Demons and Death Threat shirt designs during that period. Since Death Threat had just released their “Peace & Security” album in 2000 as well, the mutual shows delivered by these two bands packed a bona fide one-two punch the likes of which hardcore fans had yearned for years. To have witnessed Aaron Knuckles perform his memorable guest vocal spot on 100 Demons’ song “So Alone” alongside the former singer of Bloodbath and Pushbutton Warfare in a live setting was more authentic than most could have dreamt of. Unfortunately, the popularity that the band had begun to gain came to a grinding halt soon after this tour in 2001, as LePage departed the group under acrimonious circumstances. 100 Demons’ bone of contention soon became the position of vocalist, which was occupied by several sub-par individuals over the tumultuous course of the past three years. That they finally recruited a frontman last year with similar experience and distinction as the rest of the members, Pete Morcey from the noted skinhead Oi! band Forced Reality, was a boon that the band will continue to reap from for years to come. A vocalist as unique as Bruce LePage cannot be replaced, especially after singing and writing the lyrics to one of the best hardcore albums of the last five years. Among his well-known lines were “Another drink and I’ll forget, if I can’t remember how can I regret,” “I’m killing myself slowly, way too fucking slow,” and “I don’t think I’ve been happy more than twice in my life, the first time I fucked – the first time I got high – I think there was a third, the first time I saw a man die.” Pete Morcey has arrived not to fill LePage’s footprints, but rather to create new ones, and he more than fulfills this goal on 100 Demons new album. And with soon to be classic lines like “Fuck your destiny, fuck your golden child, fuck your women and children, fuck you and die” and “I don’t need the drugs because the rage it gets me high, I didn’t say I won’t do them though, that would be a lie,” it becomes clear that Morcey has finally found an outlet. His deep growl sounds strikingly akin to LePage’s, although Morcey possesses many diverse alternate voices that LePage was simply not capable of achieving. This can be seen in the closing of “Dying In My Own Arms,” where his sung parts sound closer to Cro-Mags’ Harley Flanagan than anyone else ever has. His clear, sung parts on “Repeat Process” show both Morcey and 100 Demons treading new musical ground in the verses with old school, mid-paced punk rock rearing its head. Meanwhile, both original guitarists Rick Brayall and Jeremy Braddock display an increased penchant for vintage thrash metal such as Slayer and also the newly introduced melodic European guitar harmonies which present themselves occasionally. Ruthless, double-bass infused breakdowns are still commonplace, especially in the songs “Something Terrible,” “Lord Have Mercy,” and in one of the album’s strongest tracks, the closer “Never Surrender Virtue.” As always, 100 Demons drummer and founder Rich Rosa exhibits devastating grooves which the band would not be half as good without. Bottom Line: Pete Morcey has been integrated with the 100 Demons sound, and with his arrival has come numerous new dimensions in which the band is unafraid to tread. Such new aspects to their music includes an even more present thrash metal influence, less lyrical emphasis on substance abuse and fighting, and more on loneliness and emotional turmoil, and a much denser texture to the songs. 100 Demons’ new album sees few elements removed from their effective early output and many new ones added. Within a few listens, the old fans will come crawling back to a rejuvenated 100 Demons.