Saturday, January 17, 2015

Night Demon - Curse of the Damned

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and in some cases it's true and in other cases it's not. There has been a major influx of metal bands that are considered "throw back" because of the stripped down productions reminiscent of the 80s as well as the actual music itself. Some bands pull it off real well while others are an epic fail. So it is with pleasure that I introduce you to Ventura, California's Night Demon. They pay homage to the NWOBHM with a sound that is a lot like a mix of early Diamond Head and early Iron Maiden but with their own identity and sound. The songs range from speed metal to straight up rockers with massive riffs and infectious melodies that make this one enjoyable album.

Curse of the Damned is their debut full length album and there is a major punch packed into this just under 45 minute slab of true metal. "Screams in the Night" kicks it off with a speed metal sound and with a vocal sound that sounds a bit like Sean Harris while not being a total rip off. The melodies compliment the speed metal riffs to create a fresh take on a classic sound. There is no shortage of speedy numbers like this as "Full Speed Ahead" keeps it going with a riff that almost sounds like they are ripping off "The Prince"....almost. Instead it pays homage without being lazy. There is some nice dual leads sounding like it could have been on Maiden's first two. The title track slows it down to a mid pace but with some really nice riffing and catchy melodies. The lead work on this and the rest of the album is old school almost going in a proto-metal direction. There is very little wankery here hearkening back to the days before everybody was trying to sound like Malmsteen. Yes, you heard that saying that wankery is not always needed to be a good solo.

"The Howling Man" is a track that would be considered the epic track on the album, clocking in at almost seven minutes. It starts slow and eerie with a bombastic sound before it picks up the speed with the riffs kicking in after about a minute and a half. Once again the vocal melodies are catchy as fuck. Jarvis Leatherby, who provides the vocals as well as the bass, has a good voice that gets the job done without having to have a ridiculous range or having to hit the highest notes known to man. Instead he lets his melodies do the talking...I mean singing. The song slows down with a clean melodic part then leading to a bombastic finish with some really cool old school riffing. "Heavy Metal Heat" is your typical "metal" anthem that should grace any album of this kind. I'm sorry but as cheesy as this may seem, this does not get old. Massive metal riffs, gang vocals, and lyrics about metal...I fucking love it!

"Masterrmind" is a song that sounds like it's been done a billion times over but these guys seem to do it with a class and style that makes that just fine with me. From it's strong intro to the opening riffs to the vocalist singing over just the bass before the riffs kick in again, it's the melodies of the verse that shows the abilities of this band to do something that has been done plenty of times before but also sounding fresh and new. This is actually becoming my favorite song on the album. The album closer, "Save Me Now," starts off with some eerie keyboards leading into some mid paced epic riffing. The chorus is catchy with some great melodies.

Yes, this is a case of imitation truly being a sincere form of flattery. This album is just pure 80s metal fun. No frills and nothing over the top. Instead you get heavy metal that may sound dated to some but in actuality is full of hooks and melodies that make this album irresistible to any fan of classic metal.


No comments: