“Heart of the Sea” is the second album released by Daemon Chili since their debut in 2012. Their first album “Rise Up” was released in March 2014. (Courtesy of Daemon Chili)
With a band name like Daemon Chili, you would expect some heavy tunes rooted in metal and rock. But Daemon Chili, a locally based band, is anything but that. Their new album, “Mercy of the Sea”, is a melancholy folk album, with elements of jazz and blues coursing through it.
The main songwriter of the band, who is also lead singer, rhythm guitarist, and harmonicist, Michael Dion, is a Lowell based musician who has long been active in the music world. Dion has previously released three albums with the band Hot Day at the Zoo as well as another album, Rise Up, with Daemon Chili. Dion draws from his life experiences and the tales he has lived or learned to craft Mercy of the Sea.
The first track, “Take Sounding,” introduces a common oceanic theme of the entire album. The song, which is an ode to a friend of Dion’s, tells the story of the daily life and adventures of sailor. “Take Sounding” features a strong accompaniment from Steve Benson on the pedal steel that combines the folk nature of the band and mixes with the jazz elements from lead guitarist Jason Moretti. The track is able to introduce the song of Daemon Chili and sets the tone for the entire album.
“Mercy of the Sea,” the title track of the album, is the second song. One of the higher energy songs of the album, “Mercy of the Sea” contains a sense of liveliness and adventure. The more guitar heavy track is fueled by a strong percussion and bass backing. The track also features a more classic guitar solo from Moretti and combines rock n’ roll into the Americana of Dion’s voice.
The Lowell based band pays homage to the city it is rooted in with the seventh song on the album, “Boott Mill Flavor.” The seemingly silly track refers to Lowell’s own Arthur’s Paradise Diner and it’s classic Boott Mill sandwiches. “Boott Mill Flavor” not only describes the history and taste of Lowell, but also gives the city a sound that is fused with folk and funk, much like city itself.
“Full of Sin,” a blues based song that contains the story of a missed love as accompanied by harmonic and guitar to create a lively bluegrass tune. A slightly more country sounding track, “Wicked Blue,” still stays true to the New England folk scene with both the title and the classic rock based guitar solo coursing through the song even while Dion’s lyrics and tone sound more country. The nearly eight-minute-long track, “Seven Deadly Sins,” boasts a strong, big band sound with a thumping bass line from bassists Jason Samiagio. With the combination of rock and folk, “Seven Deadly Sins” leaves interest, talent, and energy towards the end of the album.
The final track, “In April,” is a short, piano backed melancholy tune. Following the story of a past and lost love, Dion’s raspy vocals paired with just a piano let the lyrics and message of the song stand on their own, ending “Mercy of the Sea” with another showing of versatility and musicianship from the band.
Daemon Chili will be having a CD release party for “Mercy of the Sea“ at Dudley’s in downtown Lowell on April 8 at 9 p.m.