Damned reviews

THRASHHEAD:

“I was a late comer when it came to getting into kängpunk, I was first initiated into it by a bud way back in ’89 with Asta Kask’s “Aldrig en” album. Later, I found more Swedish D-beat bands like Anti-Cimex, Mob 47 and Disfear. But, as I moved abroad into the third world, I didn’t really get the chance to be introduced to some of the newer bands coming out of Viking territory, Disfear’s “A Brutal Sight of War” being the last, and that was because I happened to run into some Irish surf punks at a mysto left point in Michoacan who turned me on to some killer tunes. But, since getting back into the swing of things, I quickly discovered Wolfbrigade (as well as the earlier Wolfpack stuff) and was blown away by what I heard.

I was immediately struck dumb by albums like “A new Dawn Fades”, “Lycanthro Punk”, with Anti-Cimex’s Jonsson on vocal duties, and was even more floored when I first listened to Micke growlin’ on the newer albums “Progression/Regression”, “In Darkness You Feel No Regrets” and “Prey to the World”!!

It was incredible, just imagine finding a band that kicks ass, without even realizing they had been around for 17 years! They had formed about the same time I moved into the jungles of Latin America, and here were these great tracks like “Powerpigs”, “Roll the Dice”, “Soul on Fire”, “Global Lunacy”, “This is Life”, “Papercuts” “Outlaw Vagabond” and “Avgrundens Kant” which I had never heard before!! It had been years since I had felt this enthusiastic about listening to music. Why? Because this is how it used to be, you hear of ’em from word of mouth, each album tore it up, every song was a gem; it had the guitars of metal being driven with the beat of punk…it was Crust! Now, before you roll your eyes, you need to realize I’ve lived in a completely different world than many of you for longer than some of you have been alive, and since I had withdrawn myself from a life inundated by media of all types, you could say I was a bit “behind the times” so to speak.

I’ve had nothing but fun “catching up” because here, I am listening to yet another mind-blowing Wolfbrigade album through the ears of someone who hasn’t become used to hearing the band since day one…and, I am overwhelmed!! You know, if you listen to a band long enough, it’s like a frog sitting in a pot of water; as the temperature slowly rises, it notices no difference until it’s sittin’ on a plate next to a bowl of Gumbo in a New Orleans eatery. I can clearly hear how this band has progressed since their first EPs and “Damned” is nothing short of a magnum opus! The evolution of this band is incredible, the aggressive passion of early years is here but with the mastery of veteran rockers; Micke’s vocals are just insane, gruff and angry, but clear as a bell, the guitar work of both Jocke and Erik (who have been with the band since the earliest years) crank out the jams with the technical finesse of metal and the twang of punk on every song…they can switch from some serious punk to, dare I say, thrash riffs and face melting leads on a dime! Dadde’s amazing ability on the kit shows he can almost keep pace with the heartbeat of a hummingbird! Johan on the four string adds the icing to the cake with a power which, not only compliments the performance of the rest of the band, but also hooks the listener into the song; “Damned to Madness” is a great example of this. The band’s music demonstrates how they have been able to flawlessly mesh all their varied musical influences into a sound which is 100% Wolfbrigade.

From the first track “Feed the Flames” until the last one “Peace of Mind”, Wolfbrigade grabs you by the collar and drags you into the mosh. Each time it seems those fingers are loosening just a bit, and you think you can step out to take a breather along the wall with the spaghetti-armed lookers on, you are yanked right back into the fray with supreme power! “Slaves of Induction”, “the Curse of Caine”, “Ride the Steel” (Killer intro to this one), “Hurricane Veins”, “Catch 22” (damn I love that thrashy crunch to the guitar), “Damned to Madness”, and…and…ah, who the hell am I kidding? I can’t pick out the highlights, the whole album dominates…it’s that good!!

This album is a five star if I have ever reviewed one, it can easily appeal to a hardened veteran of the metal scene as much as any self-respecting couch-renting punk! It is simply, for lack of a better word, awesome!!

5/5″

CRAVE ONLINE:

“Hey so I was curious. Just wondering y’know, thinking out loud and all. What would the apocalypse sound like?  If the world came crashing down beneath a wave made up of the entire ocean that had ten thousand demons surfing on it and preparing to chomp on the souls of humanity. How would that sound Oh, right, it would sound like Wolfbrigade and their fuck-you-and-die album Damned. Heavy as the end of true love, fast as the bullet that explodes your skull and ugly as all those horrible feelings of loathing and self-doubt that make life unlivable, that’s what Damned is. This is an album that is as musically dense as it is fast. A wall of riffs that leaves only part of your body undamaged, a part that’s squashed into goo by the drums, Damned is the monster of the month as far as pure power goes. Holy Christ in wheelchair this album kills me.”

SKULL FRACTURING METAL:

“The Wolfpack/Wolfbrigade guys are easily one of my favorite bands out there of any genre of music, simply because of their consistency, as I have never been disappointed by any of their releases. Sure, they haven’t been able to recreate another “Lycanthro Punk” or “New Dawn Fades,” but that’s asking too much considering how amazing those two records are, and their later output is still tremendous compared to a lot of crust bands today. The band’s new album, “Damned,” is a very nice compliment to the rest of the band’s discography, as it doesn’t stray away from the sound that the band pioneered, nor does it fail to deliver some intense and memorable music.

If you’ve heard any of Wolfbrigade’s previous material, then you shouldn’t be surprised at all with the songs on “Damned.” The magnificent blending of sheer crust-punk aggression and mesmerizing Swedeath melody is still intact, and just as ruthless as ever. “Slaves of induction” and “Hurricane Veins” are two of the finest offerings on this record as they capture the essence of Wolfbrigade’s melody-tinged, crusty madness perfectly. The song “Feed the Flames” is a throwback to the days of “Lycanthro Punk” where melody is a non-factor and intensity reigns supreme. The band may have also found themselves a new classic song with “Ride the Steel,” a track that starts with a distorted clean guitar before gradually escalating to a flurry of crusty destruction.

Micke’s vocals are still as harsh and angry as ever, sounding just like they did when the Wolfbrigade lineup was spawned. The bass gets plenty of moments to shine on its own (The intro to “Damned to Madness” in particular) and the bassist’s ability to keep up with the blitzkrieg-like riffs is great as well. The drumming is what you would expect, d-beat fills and fast pacced assaults throughout, nothing too out of the ordinary. All in all, if you’re a fan of the band and their previous material, then “Damned” will be welcomed to your music collection with open arms. Wolfbrigade prove with this album that you don’t need to radically change your sound to remain relevant, and I believe now is as good a time as any to proclaim them the Bolt Thrower of crust, simply because I doubt they’ll ever disappoint with their music.

Highlights

“Ride the Steel”

“Hurricane Veins”

“Peace of Mind”

Final Rating

4.3/5 or 86%.”

SEA OF TRANQUILITY:

Originally known as Wolfpack, Wolfbrigade has been unleashing their fierce crust music upon the world since the mid-90s. Now, they are back with another barrage of d-beating angry madness in the form of Damned.

Opening the album fiercely with the in-your-face d-beater “Feed the Flames”, Wolfbrigade relentlessly keeps pounding the listeners eardrums through that track and “Slaves of Induction” and “Road to Dreams”, and it is only in “The Curse of Cain” that the tempo is lowered to mid-pace. And just as you thought things would quieten down a bit, Wolfbrigade throw the super-fast “On Your Knees… in Misery” at you, exposing you to more crust madness in “Ride the Steel”, “Hurricane Veins”, “From Beyond”, “Catch 22”, “Damned to Madness”, “Where No One Sleeps”.

As with most other crust releases, Damned is a molotov cocktail of empowering energy generated through the simple but compelling riffage and the powerful drumbeats. While I personally love that sort of energy that is encapsulated in crust punk, hardcore punk, crossover thrash and related genres, I am well aware that a lot of d-beating crust has a tendency to become monotonous in the long run. I think that Wolfbrigade steer clear of this risk by inserting guitar leads and melodic elements into their sound as is the case of, for instance, “Ride the Steel” and “From Beyond” as well as “Peace of Mind”, which feature some melodic guitar leads and more heavily paced bridges, on top of the d-beating madness (I especially like the heavy second part of “Ride the Steel”).

In addition to the melodic tendencies, there is a certain metallic feel inherent in the music on this album, as several heavy metal elements pop up now and then, as in “The Curse of Cain” and “Ride the Steel”. The overall production sound also has the brutality associated with death metal, which also contributes to giving Wolfbrigade a metallic edge on this album. Sounding like Motörhead on steroids, Wolfbrigade’s brand of crust punk (or crust metal, or metal crust) should appeal to both metalheads and crust punk fans alike.

If you are into the energy of crust punk and do not mind melodic elements and a couple of intrusions of the universe of metal music, then you should definitely check out Wolfbrigade’s high octane, hardboiled, hardcore energy bomb Damned.

4/5″

EMPTY HANDS:

“The sound of thunder…rain of fire…” these are WOLFBRIGADE’s first words searing over low-tuned riffs and pounding drums of turmoil. In lyrics and in sound, Damned is just what you expect. Not that their sound is predictable; just that you should expect to be crushed, to be decimated. And that most certainly occurs. 

 Crust elements mixed with deadly d-beat hardcore from these old school Swedes. From the days of WOLFPACK to 2012, these guys have spit forth tunes that revel in the DISCHARGE laid path. Comalive was a classic and this LP rolls over it like an Allied Tank. 

 “Curse of Cain” swinging riff is why I love these dudes. Not just cookie cutter, the pit will be one amorphous organism leaving destruction in its wake. “Slaves of Induction” and “From Beyond”’s breakdown and “Hurricane Veins”, with some black metal love, stand out as well, bathing in the album’s solid production. From peers like TRAGEDY and VICTIMS to torch bearing followers like CURSED and ALL PIGS MUST DIE; if you enjoy this sound – you should know WOLFBRIGADE. They don’t stray from the formula and they deliver one hell of a record. 

After releasing a string of LPs and EPs; on the expected HAVOC and FERAL WARD labels – they have signed a 3 LP deal with doom/sludge/stoner stalwarts, Southern Lord. Southern Lord has expanded lately and released kick ass hardcore records from XIBALBA, re-press POISON IDEA, APMD, PLANKS, BLACK BREATH (1st), etc – letting everyone know that despite your honed in genre nitpicking…good music is good music. “Recorded at renowned Gothenburg-based Studio Fredman by Frederik Nordstrom (At The Gates, Amon Amarth, Opeth) the record showcases the band arguably at their finest hour.” – (press) i could not disagree. Dark and cuastic, the chords and unrelenting drums speed through your brain. “Road to Dreams” shows undeniable MOTORHEAD love. You could throw these dudes in with TRAGEDY, HHIG, FROM ASHES RISE to EVERYTHING WENT BLACK, BLACK BREATH (ep), APMD; but recall, these dudes have been doing this since 1995. And they still smoke most contemporaries. Meandering guitar line solos are peppered over a few songs just to add some variation. But the aural beatings never stop. Again the production is key; adding a bigger, Swedish metal feel to the songs. And with songs like “On Your Knees” (which buries fools) it adds new dimensions to the track. “Ride the Steel” and “Catch 22” continue to crush the listener. Bringing a more metal feel, a la HAIL OF BULLETS and IN FLAMES. But just enough, the punk roots still tear through that comparison. There are some fine black metal guitar parts that rip out just to add diversity and pay homage to BATHORY fans. 

 This is an unquestionable “must have”.

 

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