After releasing what I considered to be the best metal album of 2015, Night Demon is looking to take 2017 by storm with the release of their second full-length album, Darkness Remains. The Ventura, CA trio’s hard work and enthusiasm for heavy metal is undeniable. Ever since the release of their four song EP, Night Demon has been relentlessly touring and appeasing those ravenous classic metal worshipping fanatics.
I have always felt that Night Demon is not just another typical N.W.O.B.H.M. / classic metal worship act. The band plays with a tremendous level of exciting energy that keeps you engaged throughout each song. Curse of the Damned, Night Demon’s debut full-length album, is from top to bottom full of great songs and features all the elements you would want in a strong heavy metal release. Plain and simple…these guys know how to write damn good songs!
Before I get into the tracks off the new album, I wanted to talk about the musicianship and production. Bassist / singer Jarvis Leatherby offers up some killer bass lines and does an exceptional job as the band’s frontman. Dusty Squires once again demonstrates his talents from behind the kit to where each track thrives on his ability to lay down crushing rhythms of pure metal force. The new album also marks the first Night Demon release to feature guitarist Armand John Anthony. I was in attendance for Armand’s first show with Night Demon last year after the departure of the band’s former guitarist Brent Woodward. I think Armand comes into this album bringing his own creative style and sound.
A slight difference between this album and Curse of the Damned, is that I felt like the production on Curse of the Damned sounded a bit more raw. I especially noticed this with how the vocals were recorded. There are a fair amount of songs on Darkness Remains that focus heavily on building up these more melodic choruses. For fans expecting the more raw sound like on the EP and Curse of the Damned, they will hear a minor difference between the old material and the new songs. The new tracks definitely maintain that distinct Night Demon sound, so you can be assured that Night Demon isn't going off into some bizarre direction by adding saxophones and trumpets in their songs.
The new releases's opening track, “Welcome to the Night,” grabs your attention right away by building up suspense and then exploding into an epic riff section. This is the album’s first single and the band even created a music video for the song. Overall I would say that it is solid song, but in my opinion it isn't one of the top songs off the album. The next track, “Hallowed Ground,” is a scorching piece of metal music with a more aggressive tone compared to the opening song. Track number three, “Maiden Hell,” is a catchy tune that references the titles of Iron Maiden songs. I thought the song was a clever way to pay homage to one of metal’s most iconic bands.
Song number four, “Stranger in the Room,” reminded me of certain tracks off of, “Curse of the Damned,” with a slower tempo and very impactful lyrical delivery by Jarvis. For the next two tracks, “Life on the Run” and “Dawn Rider,” the band demonstrates their ability to capture that classic metal energy by coming up with some bad ass lyrics and wicked guitar riffs. I especially enjoyed the ferocious galloping riff on, “Dawn Rider,” which I guarantee will get you banging head along to the music.
The last four songs on the album deliver a truly unforgiving punch of metal vengeance. “Black Widow,” is an intense sounding metal assault that contains a blistering solo by Armand. Also, the vocals sound great during the chorus to where you instantly start singing along. My favorite song off of the album, “On Your Own,” contains some powerful riffs and really inspiring lyrics that listeners might find very relatable. The second to last song, “Flight of the Manticore,” is a well constructed instrumental piece full of creative sounding dynamic compositions. Unlike some instrumental songs that I have heard, Night Demon does not bore people with endless amounts of random shredding. The final song, “Darkness Remains,” is rather unique compared to the other tracks. Jarvis' vocals are altered and the music takes on this gloomy atmospheric quality. The overall song sounds as though you are drifting through an eternal void of darkness as the album reaches its conclusion.
In the end, Night Demon is still bringing the heavy metal heat with the release of Darkness Remains. Although I think Curse of the Damned was a stronger release overall, I must say that Darkness Remains is an impressive album in its own right. I look forward to hearing these new songs performed live since out of the five times I have seen the band live, they have always put on an amazing live show. So remember to mark your calendars for April 21st when the album is released worldwide, because you are definitely going to want to pick up a copy. No matter how much the world changes, I feel confident that Night Demon will always be there fighting for metal and giving us fans something to look forward to at the end of the day.
Check out the video for "Welcome to the Night" below :
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