First looks sure can be deceiving. Case in point: I took one look at the cover of this album and the band’s photo and I immediately assumed this was some mallcore crap that was trying to slip under the Metal-Rules radar. After about 15 spins, I can safely state that I was WAY wrong and I’m glad I gave this one a chance. Why, you may ask? Because the Damn 13 is one of the best “new” bands in Toronto these days.
Lead by vocalist Adam Sewell (some of you might remember his previous band – the long-lost Monster Voodoo Machine), the Damn 13 are a raucous bunch of dudes that could easily find a home on Small Stone records with this debut album. Fact is, BLACK HEART NORTHERN SOUL is filled to the brim with crunchy stoner rock riffs, all rocked up and catchy. Sewell’s vocals are perfect for this music, all gravelly and pissed off, fitting right in beside the nasty riffs of Justin McWilliams and Mike Charette. If songs like the one-two punch combo of “Goodbye Misery” and “Broken Wings” don’t stick in your head and get it bangin’, there is something seriously wrong with you.
From the first track of the album to the tenth, song after great song roll on, each one as fuzzy and infectious as the last. The band stumbles a bit with the too long and dull “Anywhere But Here”, but it’s the last song and can easily be skipped. Honestly guys, it’s the wild bashin’ stuff that you excel at – just give me more of that!
BLACK HEART NORTHERN SOUL is probably one CD I’ve heard this year that has surprised me the most and is a good bet to reach my Top 20 of the year. Excellent stuff – buy it!
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