Damone – Roll the Dice
I strongly dislike groups on Facebook. Most of them serve no purpose at all and are a waste of time. One of the few groups that I continue to be a part of is the Apple Group, because a couple times per year, they give away a free CD sampler. Sometimes it is seasonal (like a summer mix), sometimes it is genre-specific (alternative, hip hop, etc), MOST of the time it’s composed of music that I likely will never listen to again. Last year though, when I was listening through the 25 newest additions to my library, courtesy of the Apple group, I “stumbled” upon a gem… a vicious track called “Out Here All Night” by Damone (named after a character in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”). The song blew me away! This band ROCKED, and I really mean rocked, as in they’re a kick ass rock band. They even covered “Wasted Years” by Iron Maiden! I bought the rest of “Out Here All Night” and played it nonstop for days on end. Tracks like “Now Is The Time”, “What We Came Here For”, and “Get Up And Go” were gems to me. A band like Paramore is hugely popular, but a more talented ROCK band like Damone has a fraction of the popularity. WHY?!?!?!?
Anyway, once I heard that Damone was releasing a new album (Roll The Dice) and that I could review it, I jumped at the chance. I jumped so high that I cracked my head open. Brain matter spilled out over my desk and I had to clean up the bloody mess before I could review the album. KIDDING…
I was a little nervous about reviewing the album because most of the time when I get into a band, their follow-up ends up being a disappointment to me (even though Damone’s first album was 2003’s “From The Attic” and not “Out Here All Night”). On “Roll The Dice”, each member got to sing on a track on the album, instead of just Noelle LeBlanc. It turns out I had nothing to be nervous about… this album rocks just as much as “Out Here All Night” did… once I gave it the usual few spins through, I fell in love with it just as much as “Out Here All Night”. The cover song on this album is GnR’s “You Could Be Mine”, and although nothing is ever as good as the original, this has to be the best cover of it I’ve ever heard. Noelle’s vocals really nail the song and the background vocals on the final verse are full of ferocity, especially the end of the song mimicking Axl’s trademark scream. (I’d love if they released a cover album, judging by their first two attempts at them.)
The tracks that stand out to me are “Bored To Death” (track 3), which reminds me of “Dr. Feelgood” by Motley Crue at the beginning of the song. The background vocals on the chorus sound great, and the title certainly doesn’t describe this album. “Dressed Up Like A Millionaire” (track 4), which sounds like a slightly less “metal” version of Danish band Volbeat is also a standout and “Obvious Things” (track 5), is probably the best single on the album, if they decide to release it as one. All in all, judging by the reviews of the album, if you like “Joan Jett fronting Pyromania-era Def Leppard” (Revolver Magazine) or “Cheap Trick licks take a Cars turn into a Van Halen Eruption” (CMJ), then you have a general idea of how huge Damone could be… and SHOULD BE, if there is any fairness in the rock world. Who am I kidding? There’s none. Oh well… it’s a sterling album from start to finish that I’ll be rocking out to while I clean up my brain matter waiting for Paramore to go away and for Damone to become superstars.
Tracks to check out: “Bored To Death”, “Dressed Up Like A Millionaire”, “Obvious Things”, and “You Could Be Mine” (GnR cover)