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DAMIEN DONE explores new nooks of gloomy post-punk with new single “Pray For Me”

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Damien Done has premiered the video for “Pray For Me,” the lead single from the forthcoming Total Power album.

“Pray for Me” is a love song. The track sees its subject reconciling a life of jaded discontent with the newfound fulfillment his partner provides. In typical Damien Done fashion, the concept is delivered via a series of poignant, cynical one-liners, this time against a driving sonic backdrop. The result is dark and surprisingly danceable in its constraint, owing as much to Joy Division as it does Pixies. The otherwise flowery sentiment is somehow drenched in gloom, and in spite of its modern execution and production, “Pray for Me” is perfectly suited for an early-’90s goth club, putting Moyal’s knack for economic, effective, dour songwriting on full display.

The video, shot in Tennessee and directed by Joe Halberstadt, features a band, just not Damien Done’s — a testament to the cynicism, and occasional absurdity, underpinning most of the otherwise deadpan material.

“Joe asked if we could film the performance footage in Michigan, then send it to him for editing. I didn’t see why it had to be us, so I was like ‘Nah, find another band.'” says Damien Moyal.

Damien Done by Nathaniel Shannon
Damien Done by Nathaniel Shannon

Damien Done is perhaps the most surprising output from Damien Moyal, a vocalist best known for fronting aggressive bands. Just last year Moyal formed the death metal band Ekstasis, which counts legendary drummer Fred Estby (Dismember/Carnage) among its ranks. Since the ’90s, he’s helmed several influential metallic hardcore bands, including Morning Again, Shai Hulud and Culture –- to say nothing of As Friends Rust, a hardcore punk band with a cult, but vast, global following.

Damien Done sounds like none of those.

Here, Moyal brings the angst of his legacy to a near-grinding halt, instead plodding forward with measured restraint, revealing influences as disparate — and rarely-conjoined — as gothic rock, new wave, disco and doom, with vocals that evoke comparisons to the sneering baritones of Billy Idol, Jim Morrison or Danzig. Formed under Miami’s neon lights and reborn in the post-industrial wastelands of Detroit, Damien Done plays gloomy post-punk, weaving unnerving tales through a distinct and narrative croon. Damien Done has released a full-length album, multiple EPs and singles, and has played in both the U.S. and across Europe.

Total Power, Damien Done’s sophomore album, will be released on May 19 by Chicago’s Mind Over Matter Records. In stark contrast with 2020’s To Night EP — a full-band recording with a massive, live sound — Total Power volleys with ease between dark, goth-tinged rockers and minimal, electronic tracks; between densely-layered synths and brooding new wave. The result is dynamic and unfolding, and finds Damien Done’s point of view fully realized, expressed boldly and with sophistication.

Total Power was mixed by James Paul Wisner (Paramore, 36 Crazyfists, Dashboard Confessional, Underoath, New Found Glory), and features a duet with La Femme Pendu, the songwriting moniker of actress Allison Scagliotti (The Vampire Diaries, Warehouse 13, One Tree Hill).

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