I think my only New Year’s resolution this year was to be a little less harsh on my reviews in regards to originality in music. I tend to concentrate too much on that factor in my reviews and it tends to take over what I write about rather than concentrating on the actual music at hand and whether it actually is good or not. With Night Demon, we do have a band that holds their classic 80s metal influence on their sleeve, however they also make the best of it on their new album Curse of the Damned.
“Traditional metal” is what they call it, but is there really a certain type of metal that was ever consistent enough to be called “traditional”? Night Demon site their influences as being Iron Maiden, Metallica, Diamond Head, Angel Witch, Riot and Saxon, while really none of these bands are really all that similar to one another. I’ve given that some thought, calling it “traditional” is kind of moot, but “classic” heavy metal, that seems right. While barely even half of those influences mentioned actually hit “classic” standard in retrospect, there is a certain nostalgia metal fans like me get when we hear things like Angel Witch and Tygers of Pan Tang‘s first albums or Riot‘s Fire Down Under that makes us wish these bands were not only more popular but also that they influenced a more lasting sound in heavy metal.
Night Demon are a band that luckily took major influence, as evident in most to all tracks on Curse of the Damned. Opening track Screams in the Night is all heavy and in your face with fast drums and riff driven guitar chugging. In fact the entire first half of the album doesn’t disappoint. The album’s title track Curse of the Damned has an arena vibe to it with its simple drum beat and bass intro and consistent pace throughout. The simply titled Satan switches from a mid/fast guitar driven pace to slower more doomy sounding choruses while Full Speed Ahead stays true to its title as the fastest paced song by this point on the album.
The six+ minute The Howling Man brings a welcome change to the albums sound. With a definite Black Sabbath doom metal influence to its intro and its well thought out and written main section, it sounds like nothing else on the album. It has the catchiest rhythms and vocal melodies out of just about any song on the album which keeps listeners entertained throughout the entire 6:48.
The rest Curse of the Damned is kind of hit or miss. I mean Night Demon do a good job at making classic sounding metal, but there are few standout tracks remaining. Heavy Metal Heat and Run for your Life have their moments that hook you beyond their fast pace, even though they doesn’t quite stand out above others, I can still see these two tracks being picked as certain listeners favourite songs from the album. A good amount of effort was also put in to Mastermind. I’d consider it one of Night Demon’s elite tracks on the album with its apocalyptic sounding guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. Livin’ Dangerous and Killer just don’t quite cut it. Compared to the rest of the album they don’t even come close, and as standalone songs, Killer may be able to hold up on its own, but I just can’t find the significance in Livin’ Dangerous.
Night Demon end Curse of the Damned with one of its absolute finest tracks. Save Me Now carries the same classic heavy metal sound that the rest of Curse of the Damned has, but there is something about this song that just makes it completely different from the rest of the album in the best possible way. I don’t know if it’s the great organ played intro or the fantastic vocal harmonies in its chorus, but it puts the whole album into perspective terrifically and every time I hear it I want to re-listen to the entire album.
One could almost swear that they were listening to an album made in the heyday of the NWOBHM movement of the 80s when putting on Curse of the Damned. Night Demon may hold their influences a little too much on their sleeve but they make the most of it with some great heavy metal songs. Some of the songs may kind of sound like others on the album, but fortunately that doesn’t happen too often. I believe the main standout tracks, most particularly Curse of the Damned, The Howling Man and Save Me Now start 2015 in metal off strong and raise my hopes for what else is to come this year.
“Curse of the Damned” – I find this to be unanimously the most catchy song on the album, and it’s not just from a vocal standard. In fact, the music of the song is more catchy than the vocals, which is unique nowadays. It also has my favourite guitar solo on the album. I can’t help but compare it to L.A. Guns‘ Don’t You Cry, a rather obscure song but it just so happens to have one of my favourite guitar solos of all time. I think the similarities between the two songs are merely coincidence, but even if they aren’t, who cares. I Night Demon plays it better anyway!
There’s only a live video to provide for you, but the music sounds 98% accurate to the album’s recording
7.5 (Out of 10)
|1||– Screams In The Night|
|2||– Curse Of The Damned|
|4||– Full Speed Ahead|
|5||– The Howling Man|
|6||– Heavy Metal Heat|
|9||– Run For Your Life|
|11||– Save Me Now|
|12||– Road Racin’ (Bonus Track)|