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Damien Thorne - "End Of The Game" (CD)

Damien Thorne - "End Of The Game" CD cover image

"End Of The Game" track listing:

1. The Clincher
2. Face Reality
3. Me Against The World
4. Fire
5. You'll Come Around
6. Indulgence
7. Tarantula
8. Fistful Of Regret
9. End Of The Game
10. Not Without A Fight
11. Psychosis
12. Curtain Call
13. Traume
14. Escape Or Die 2012

Reviewed by on November 14, 2011

"Subpar vocals largely wreck what could have been an excellent slice of early '80s-style metal on Damien Thorne's 'End Of The Game.'"

Rocking a style that adds a little extra thrash to the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal sound, Damien Thorne's "End Of The Game" would be an ideal listen for fans of early '80s metal — but for one thing. Unfortunately, that one thing is singer Martin DeBourge's vocals, which range from adequate-at-best to grating, depending on the track.

It's unfortunate, too, because the album features excellent guitar work from Ken Manda, whose solos are the high points of tracks like "The Clincher" and "Indulgence." He and bassist Rick Browz really get a chance to show their chops on the superb instrumental "Tarantula," which features Browz heading into Steve Harris territory with a speeding gallop.

There are some excellent riffs as well, like the opener of "You'll Come Around," which channels early Iron Maiden, and the stomp that powers "End Of The Game." The quiet opening of "Not Without A Fight" is also excellent instrumentally — in addition to being the one time the vocals exceed their usual mediocrity.

DeBourge's vocals grate on nearly every track, with a whiny quality that is completely at odds with the instrumentation. The moment he enters the mix on "The Clincher" stops the track dead in its tracks — and (forgive the pun based on the band's name), it's an omen of things to come on nearly every other song. Tracks like "Psychosis" feel like he's stretching for notes barely within his range.

Subpar vocals largely wreck what could have been an excellent slice of early '80s-style metal on Damien Thorne's "End Of The Game." If you can get past that, there's some better-than-average guitar-playing and hooks.

Highs: Excellent guitar solos on "The Clincher" and "Indulgence"

Lows: Bad vocals mar nearly every track.

Bottom line: Grating vocals shred what could've been an enjoyable early '80s-style metal experience.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)