Go ahead and laugh, but there is a remote possibility that metal takes itself a little too seriously at times. I mean, take a band such as Oozing Wound, who can thrash with the very best of them, and they’re written off by some people because they’re perceived as not being serious. Give me a break. They’re either good or they’re not.
That brings me to Night Demon. Now, I don’t think there are a lot of people pointing their way yet and questioning their motives, but if you absorb their debut long player “Curse of the Damned,” you likely will understand how people might look at them with a tilted head. To hell with those people, by the way, because Night Demon destroys. Feeling like something arriving out of the late 1970s or early 1980s, when there was no such thing as people questioning your motives in metal, these guys come off like the natural progression from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Dio, and Thin Lizzy. This is a good fucking time, a chance to forget all the bullshit going on around you, and surrender to the power of metal. You remember how to do that? We all could use a refresher now and then, and this killer record can help soothe what ails you.
Night Demon have been kicking around for the past four years or so, and the lineup consists of vocalist/bassist Jarvis Leatherby (whose singing if totally cut out for this type of thing), guitarist Brent Woodward (The Fucking Wrath), and drummer Dustin Squires. The guys delivered their initial EP three years ago first on their own and then with the backing of Shadow Kingdom. Now, they’re really moving up in the world, as Century Media swooped in and signed these guys and are exposing them to the wider audience they deserve. Get ready to get lost in their power.
“Screams in the Night” gets the record off to a great start, with a catchy, riff-heavy track about an ax-wielding executioner, who Leatherby warns is “coming to get you.” The leads are great, there’s an awesome transitional riff toward the end that’ll make you punch tables, and the whole thing comes to a crunchy finish. The title cut sounds like a Scorpions track when it takes off, mainly in the guitar work, and the chorus is one of the finer ones on here, a sequence that’ll get stuck in your head and have you repeating it all day long. The track “Satan” may come off a little cheeky, but it’s an homage to the man downstairs that long-tenured metal warriors are sure to love. “He’s coming for your soul,” Leathersby reminds, as the soloing lights fires, and the whole package packs a damn fun punch. “Full Speed Ahead” is one of the more aggressive cuts here, with a NWOBHM-style assault spilling forth, the words painting scenes of comic book-style violence, and a sense of darkness taking over that gives the track a sense of danger. “The Howling Man” is the longest song at 6:47, and it’s a warning shot to those who don’t take the forces of evil seriously. After fires crackle and thunder sounds, the band hits its groove, with guitars kicking into high gear, the track taking on a classic Maiden feel, and Leatherby vowing, “I won’t let you take this world to hell.” You almost can imagine him standing off the dark forces with torch in hand.
“Heavy Metal Heat” sounds like it jumped into a time machine in 1985, when “Headbangers Ball” would play bands like this front to back, and arrived in modern times, when we could use an anthem of this nature. The guys imagine a Friday night after a shit work week, the need to blow off some steam, and the promise of salvation delivered by heavy metal. It’s a fight song, really, and those who fell off from metal the last few years could try this on and feel like they never left. “Livin’ Dangerous” is a similar style of cut, with AC/DC-style guitar lines driving this forward, the song excelling in its simplicity and power, and the back end taking on a faster tempo that should lift you out of any doldrums. “Mastermind” has a sinister feel, with the bass pushing through the center, and the verses certainly are a lot of fun to behold. The soloing is majestic and punchy, and there’s another feeling of empowerment injected into the song. “Run for Your Life has rowdy guitar work that also gets a little chewy, and the simple, easy-to-sing-back chorus adds even more weight to this one. “Killer” is literally named, as it’s about someone who murders for thrills, though as this one goes on, the subject matter is poked and told, “Time is up, you’re gonna fry.” It’s as catchy as a song about a murderer possibly can be. The band makes an odd choice with its closer “Save Me Now,” as they held one of the most memorable, infectious tracks for last. Here is where the Thin Lizzy influence really settles in, with strong vocals, a chorus that will never let go and just sticks inside your brain for days on end, and the guys hitting on all cylinders. Like those classic metal cuts were wont to do, the band returns to that chorus and gets everything they can out of it, letting the thing roll over and over until it fades out with the song. What a killer finish.
If you find you lost your way and can’t remember the last time metal truly made you smile because it doesn’t feel like as much of an escape, go a few rounds with Night Demon. “Curse of the Damned” is a catchy, awesomely fun album that will make you want to go out on Friday, roll down the windows, and do something dumb you’ll remember forever. Or at least until the next morning. If this thing can’t lift up your spirits and let you indulge in the power of darkness, you might be a lost cause.
For more on the band, go here: http://nightdemon.net/
To buy the album, go here: http://www.cmdistro.com/
For more on the label, go here: http://centurymedia.com/