"Curse of the Damned"

By Dr. Abner Mality

If you're going to pillage riffs, pillage from the best and do it with as much gusto as you can. That's the philosophy of Chicago's Night Demon, the latest in a string of bands trying to rediscover the glory days of early heavy metal. Their bald-faced riff-snatching sometimes causes me to shake my head, but like I stated above, if you've got enough moxy, you can overcome the lack of originality.

Night Demon is very much a NWOBHM inspired band, drawing their inspiration from some of the more obscure practitioners like Cloven Hoof, Crucifixion and Jaguar, as well as the usual suspects such as Maiden and Priest. The album is ballad-free and ballsy, with a superior production that the old-timers above would have killed their granny to get. Just check out that juicy and full-blooded bass sound, especially on the title track. The vocals of one Jarvis Leatherby (!) really do harken back to the NWOBHM...clear and lucid and just a little bit amateurish in an endearing way.

It's all stufff you've heard a million times before, but delivered with enthusiasm. I couldn't tell you how many times I've heard the riffs that start "Full Speed Ahead" and "Run For Your Life". The usual subjects of axe murderers, demons and bike-riding badasses are covered. "Satan" is pretty self-explanatory. I dig "The Howling Man", which is not only inspired by a great "Twilight Zone" episode but very memorable as well. "Livin' Dangerous" is almost out of classic Ted Nugent stock and final original track "Save Me Now" is really more rugged hard rock than metal, with a cool eerie synth intro. The album winds up with a fine cover of Riot's "Road Racin'", showing Night Demon has done their homework as far as metal history goes.

A satisfying nostalgic headbanger of an album, somewhat hampered by a total lack of identity but not crippled by it.