Damien - Every Dog Has Its Day - Power Play Records - 2004
1. Wolf Dreams 2. Possession 3. Serpents Rising 4. Give Me A Sign 5. Every Dog Has Its Day 6. World Affair 7. Season Of The Arrow 8. I Play For You 9. Glass City 10. Race To The End
Every dog does indeed have its day. Eighteen years after its initial release through Select Records, Damien's debut record "Every Dog Has Its Day" finally gets the royal treatment. New Jersey's Power Play Records has really impressed me of late, conjuring up wicked new titles from the likes of Cradle To Grave and Further Lo. But what really makes this label so unique is that they strive to capture today's hottest underground acts, those bands waiting in the wings, but also to make available the glorious gems lost long ago like 220Volt's "Eye To Eye" and the topic of discussion, Damien's 1987 treasure. Rarely do you find a roster that is stacked from top to bottom with both new releases and quality goods from the past. Power Play Records has been doing that for the last couple of years and it is really starting to get them the much needed attention they deserve.
"Every Dog Has Its Day" has been reissued with original artwork and some very nice goodies. Along with the album, which in its own right is worth every penny, fans will now get the entire album with a bonus multimedia section that holds the video for the title track. I remember seeing that air on the original Headbangers Ball in the 80s, and now it has been added as a bonus on this particular reissue. Power Play has added some pictures from the video itself and included them on the fold out booklet inside, along with the album's lyrics. Being the collector version of the average metal fan this is exactly what I've been waiting for. I can cast aside that worn out cassette tape and enjoy the album in CD quality.
For those of you uneducated on the sounds and power of Cleveland's Damien, then let me offer a brief tutorial. The band is made up of singer Randy Mikelson, guitarists Chuck Stohl and Fritz Adamshick, drummer Johnny Cappelletty, and bassist Kevin Kekes, who also played on Chastain's "In Dementia" album in '97. This debut album launched an underground movement for the band, who saw some brief airplay on radio and MTV but for the most part went completely unnoticed. Sounding like a cross between the hard rock sensations of Ratt and Crue and thunderous classic metal ala Judas Priest and Accept. Mikelson is really one of my favorite vocalists of this genre, sounding a bit like Paul Stanley mixed with Udo's raspy delivery. The band proved they had enough ample wattage to compete with the likes of Overkill and Wild Dogs but could easily open for anyone on the Sunset Strip. I guess these guys could fit neatly on a shelf, tucked in between the Malice and Wild Dogs bookends.
With fast and furious cuts like "Possession", "Every Dog Has Its Day", and "Season Of The Arrow", denim and leather boys will get quite a workout. Huge, massive guitar licks and scorching vocals from Mikelson punctuate material that just roars by at the speed of light. Fans of NWOBHM and the likes of Germany's Teutonic metal movement will find plenty to like here. The band show they do in fact have a hard rock backbone, partying it up on KISS like numbers "Serpents Rising" and "Give Me A Sign". Damien even shows off some Manowar styled songwriting on the likes of "World Affair" and "Race To The End".
The band would follow this record up a year later with their most powerful album, "Stop This War", a metallic vision that shows off the best of Sabbath, Priest, and Maiden while still keeping intact the band's hard rock personality. Power Play Records has also made that album available as well, going all out to deliver the best of Damien to your doorstep. I won't go in depth on that reissue, as this is simply a review of the debut. Once I get my filthy paws on the sophomore release I will cover it here. Keep in mind that Damien released a third album in the mid-90s called "Angel Juice". In the meantime, you can email Power Play records at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the Damien titles or simply visit Power Play's website to order. Look for Damien on tour this year!
About this Writer: Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.
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