Depending on what source you use, Internet or promotional material, Orlando's Damien Black may or may not be an active band. Formed in 1991 by founder, bassist and primary songwriter Scott Mire the band had some success in the Florida area and cut a demo Black Reign.
That demo along with other unreleased material can be found within the Dead Of Winter compilation from Greece's Arkeyn Steel Records. All the songs have been remastered, and the recordings have a generally solid and polished feel.
The Damien Black style can best be described a heavy power metal with large riffage, blistering solos, and a steady rhythm section that keeps the gallop going as necessary. Michael Caruso's vocals are generally clean and melodic, with a range that can go from smooth to screamo. Often that occurs in the same song, and when it does it makes you think that he's out of control, not knowing what voice he wants to use. He reminds me at times of a twist of Geoff Tate and Geddy Lee.
The overall sound of Damien Black reminds me of twist of Savatage and Queensryche. Mostly what you note about both their sound and songs is that they didn't fit the American musical landscape back in the day, where grunge and alt rock were taking over, nor do they fit today. But they would definitely find an audience in the European theater.
A mention should be made of some songs, notably The Sky Is Falling, Dead Of Winter, One Voice, and Psycho Drama. For these four songs there are two versions, the demo versions and the Black Reign recordings. They don't differ in the extreme, but you can notice some slight nuances. It's a curious study in the evolution of songwriting. Finally, this compilation is limited to 500 copies, so if you're a heavy metal history buff who likes American heavy metal, you need to move on this quickly.
Dead Of Winter is a compilation album of Damien Black's heavy/power metal from early demos and other recordings.
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