If you were to ask which Ventura County-based artist right now tours the most, whether across the country or the world, it is without a doubt Night Demon. The trio literally trot the globe as the new ambassadors of a bygone era of heavy metal that still has a passionate underground following, in particular throughout Europe.

It’s with their latest release, Darkness Remains, however, that the band’s songwriting is on par with their noted musicianship and blistering live shows. 

Darkness Remains has what many metal releases fall short on: production value. Every riff-shredding, epic drum-filled, powerful, vocal-driven song about appropriate metal subjects (such as manticores in flight) sounds incredible. It’s an amazing mix that somehow still captures that gritty, early Iron Maiden feel that fans of the genre expect, while still being current at the same time.

The band, with Jarvis Leatherby on bass and vocals, Dusty Squires on drums and Armand John Anthony on guitar, is a Voltron-like formation of three of the music scene’s finest players finally unleashed on the international metal world, and their success is well deserved.

Their triumphant homecoming at Ventura’s Frost and Fire Metal Fest this October will be hands down one of the not-to-be-missed shows of the year. To hear the record’s hair-raising anthemic opening track, “Welcome to the Night,” live and in person at a bona fide fest should be nothing short of a privilege to local metal fans.

Last but not least, the album’s cover art of an apocalyptic Ventura City “Hell,” complete with a demonic version of the Father Junipero Serra statue, is the greatest cover in the history of not just local music, but of all music . . . ever. 

Available on nightdemon.net and www.facebook.com/nightdemonband.