It’s hard to say things like “retro-metal” with a straight face; the very thought of denim and leather, balls to the wall rhetoric is as out dated as the first Manowar record. But bands like Night Demon are blazing a new path down an old street by fearlessly recreating classic metal mastery minus the leather chaps and motorcycles. Night Demon wears their vintage hearts on their denim jacket sleeves; for them the New Wave of British Metal is where heavy music started, peaked and still remains.
On first listen you would never guess these blokes came from the California coast; the riffs from Brent Woodward are full of fog, evil ways and fish and chips. It’s full British steel on “Screams in the Night”, a burning torch of speed and cheap thrills, think Diamond Head smashed with the tongue in cheek mayhem of Midnight. All the young lad glory of early Iron Maiden is present on “Mastermind”, lead singer Jarvis Leatherby wails “destiny calls” and you believe because even his damn name sounds British.
Leatherby and company can’t avoid indulging in some campy wankery at times. The minute long intro of canned storm sounds that begins “The Howling Man” is surely haunted house goofiness at it’s worst but it’s the ode to the prince of darkness himself that shouts b-horror movie shtick the loudest. “His name is Satan, he rules the under world” caws Leatherby on “Satan”, leaving us wondering if the dark lord ever rides the curl in the Ventura surf.
If heavy metal gimmicks are Night Demons worst offense, then they are doing something right on Curse of the Damned. Bullet belts and pentagrams are what brought most heshers to the gates of hell anyway, it’s no sin to revel in the pageantry. “Save Me Now” shows eighties pop metal influence, Don Dokken and Bruce Dickinson would both be at home screaming “my soul is going to burn in flames” right along with Leatherby, if that is his real name.