Damien, U.S.A., 1989, Heavy, Power, Articles, Reviews, Album, News, The Old Enough The Unnoticed And The Devil’s Soundtrack,

After their almost perfect debut in 1987 “Every Dog Has Its Day”, Damien were damned to succeed. And doomed to failed… but let’s take first things first…

The band started at early 80’s in Ohio. Their lineup featured Chuck Stohl (lead guitars), Randy “Wolf” Mikelson (lead vocals), Kevin “Killer” Kekes (bass), Fritz Adamshick (rhythm guitars), and Johnny “Evil” Cappelletty (drums). They signed with Select Records and after many live gigs they recorded their first LP. The album was successful and highly acclaimed creating a momentum for the band. Two years later Damien were ready to release their sophomore record. They were well prepared for that release as they even had  a video for “Break Out” that had airplay on MTV and Headbanger’s Ball. Concerts were booked with bigger names and their music approached a larger audience while more and more teenagers and metal fans especially in the States had a copy of “Stop This War”. Unfortunately either because 1989 was a bit too late for ballsy US Power blended with Thrash either because Damien just wasn’t meant to become huge (probably their label hadn’t so much influence on music industry to do so and the big ego fights between the band’s members didn’t help at all) Damien split up in mid 90’s. It took almost a decade for Damien to reunite…

But truth be told “Stop This War” is a born to be a classic album. Great rhythm, excellent performance, solid production, nice riffs, plenty of hooks, thick bass lines, catchy choruses, easy to follow lyrics and memorable tunes were all there. Their music was a charming mixture of Judas Priest Screaming For Vengeance/Defenders Of The Faith -era, Leatherwolf, Jag Panzer, Armored Saint, Accept, WWIII, Lethal and Metal Church that were popular in both side of the Atlantic at the time. We can hear Iron Maiden, Scorpions and UFO influences here and there too, but Damien filtered them and added a great amount of their personality to the final result.

From the opening riff you know that you are dealing with a great album. And you just wanna bang your head and close your eyes and think you are into a live concert. I really love many songs coming from “Stop This War”. Strong compositions such as “Stop This War”, “The Priest Are Coming”, “Riding The Dawn” and the single “Break Out” are made for live shows, while fans favourite “Matilda” that has this silly and naive chorus, still is a great song indeed. Damien have the potential and the quality to use Wolf Mikelson’s voice with style without sounding as a poor mans Halford. His voice is stunning and fits like a glove to their compositions. “Stormwind” for instance has a mid-tempo groove that sticks to your mind; same for its gang style chorus. “30 St. Claire” is a fine instrumental that gives a small break to the listener before the band explodes its final assault. The B’ side has the same power with the A’ side so the album keeps its balance and its, featuring excellent anthems such as ‘Warlord’, ‘Always In Lust’ and the closer “Corpse Grinder” that is increasing its fury and is probably the song that flirts more with NWOBHM than the rest that also have some a hint of the British movement but in smaller doses.

Damien tried hard to make it big but 90’s was the time of the extreme, the experimental and the alternative. No room for traditional Priest-like Heavy Metal, no room for Heavy Metal Heroes… yet as times changes and everything turns around like an never stopping wheel, US Power is once again popular and charming for younger audiences that now have the opportunity through the Lost Realm Records reissue to get in touch with some brilliant underground or forgotten gems of 80’s ecstatic Heavy Metal.