Damien Done - Demos From The Year 2020 (Cover Artwork)

Damien Done

Demos From The Year 2020 (2020)


Damien Done, the solo project from As Friends Rust frontman Damien Moyal, closed out 2020 with a three-track digital release. Demos From The Year 2020 offers up three brooding songs that present the listener with clever lyrics and subtly catchy music.

“Black Moon” is the opening song and drives forward with pounding guitar tracks that are grooved out with quietly distorted bass lines and refined drum beats. The music here thrives in an ingenuitive pocket that reminds me of early Misfits and Joy Division. Damien’s vocal cadences slow the song’s overall vibe down a bit, and add a darker tone as well. The slowly sung vocals combined with their low-end tone amp up a disquieting mood that seems to dwell just beneath surface of the song. The lyrical content only serves to add to that mood.

The release’s second track, “Always On Fire,” is a far more decidedly slow paced song. Adding in some synth layers to the music develops a similarly unsettling mood. But that effect helps bind the songs cohesively. The simple synth and guitar background music that pervades much of “Always On Fire,” allows for Damien’s vocal abilities to come front and center. The subtle reverb effect on his vocals give dimension to the song. And the closing guitar lead comes in at just the right time to hit the listener with eery discordant notes.

Closing out the release is “Maw.” This song too draws on more synth and centers on Damien’s vocals. The opening is a massive buildup that again puts Damien’s singing at the forefront. As the synth tracks come forward in the middle of the song, the listener is brought into a restrained and atmospheric musical experience. The song morphs more into an artistic personal reflection, and the listener feels very much drawn into that personal experience. All of the sounds work as one here. The abrupt ending does really well in closing out the aforementioned disquieting mood that was built into every song.

There’s not a lot of music on this release. Sometimes three songs isn’t enough. Sometimes it’s too much. But here, it seems just enough. And this is especially so for those who haven’t yet given Damien Done a listen. The music is imaginative and original. The vocals are catchy, unsettling, and well-delivered. The lyrical content is near-literary. This is great stuff, and well worth your time.