Damnation – The Unholy Sounds of Damnation

The Unholy Sounds of Damnation

Don’t be fooled by the satanic skull; Damnation are no cheesy death-metal band still clinging to the 80s. With nonstop noise and testosterone-drenched vocals, they’re a raw, amped-up assault, perhaps better described as the nefarious offspring of The Misfits and Metallica or The Dwarves and Judas Priest. The Unholy Sounds of Damnation, the fourth full-length album from these four L.A. punk-rockers, displays the band’s talent and ability.
Part of me believes that this album isn’t one for the kids. For instance, just as I wouldn’t introduce my daughter to Arab on Radar’s Yahweh or the Highway before familiarizing her with punk, I don’t recommend Damnation to those unfamiliar with The Misfits. Intense instrumentals set off by an underlying punk sarcasm mock the greasy hair and tattoo sleeves, ridiculing Damnation’s own image. The music flirts with child-molesting priests (“Fuel Injected Priest”), Vampirism (“Blood Junkies”), and sadomasochism (“Spell On Me”), while lyrics like “In stilettos and a whip / says that Satan is her bitch / got the chronic and the crypt / even Jesus Christ is on her tip” caricature angst-ridden satanic subcultures, daring the listener to take the music seriously. The influence of So-Cal punk pops up in “Formaldehyde,” a meaty tune about Ben the puppy embryo, and even the Mamas and the Papas’ innocent “California Dreamin'” is turned into a hellish anthem in “California Demons,” a loose parody. At only 19 minutes for 11 tracks, this album is fast, furious, and a little fun; I wish it were longer.
Though it took a few listens to get used to the macho Metallica growls injected every few tracks, I enjoy Damnation’s rock’n’roll punk fusion, and their unique humor stands out from the typical over-sexed, masturbatory punk banter. Frenzied drumming, a restless bassline, and leering lyrics keep The Unholy Sounds of Damnation an entertaining listen strongly recommended to Misfits fans or punks looking for a new sound.