Genre: Crust Punk, D-Beat
Label: Southern Lord
Ah, d-beat. You and I haven’t been the best of friends for the past little while, have we? I’ve neglected you quite a bit in favor of more… mainstream tastes and for that, I am sorry. To make it up to you, I have spent the last two days straight listening to Swedish d-beat mavens, Wolfbrigade and their latest offering to the crusty genre, Damned.
Since I wasn’t a huge fan or Prey To The World, I wasn’t expecting too much from Damned. And to be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to think about this album at first. I mean, it’s super aggressive and has a true, grimy crust punk feel to it from beginning to end, but it’s fairly simplistic instrumentally (no real surprise there, but I meant “more than usual”) and the vocalist’s style of “let’s see how long I can strain my voice like this” vocals get irritating pretty quick.
There are a few classic d-beat riffs going on in Damned (the latter half of the album especially) and as stripped down as some of the songs can get, it doesn’t really detract from the dark mood that Wolfbrigade has set up. Another check in the Pro box would be the drumming. While it’s not particularly mind-blowing, it is inventive. If I could just isolate the drum track and listen to it as is, I probably would every once in a while. Lots of fun to be had in Damned if you’re a fan of manic drumming in a gloomier setting. I know that I mentioned earlier that the vocals got on my nerves. Yes, they did… but they aren’t really all that bad. Sure, I’m concerned that the vocalist isn’t going to be able to speak for a week after replicating them live, but he seems to be cool with it so who am I to judge, really?
The major flaw of this album is it’s inability to stick with me after I turn off my player. I listened to Damned for TWO DAYS STRAIGHT and I couldn’t recite a single lyric or hum a single melody as of right now. All that kept happening was I would hum something off of Death Songs (When Tigers Fight)… I’m not sure if that a dis to Wolfbrigade (Sorry!) or a testament to how awesome When Tigers Fight are (still sorry WB).
Overall: From what I can remember at any given time about this album, it’s definitely a solid effort and something that should belong in any d-beat enthusiast’s collection. But I probably won’t be returning to Damned for a while. I’ll just go ahead and say that part of that is because of the repeated listens. Seriously though, don’t let my whining keep you from checking this album out.
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