Released: 2015, Revival Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Damaj are a Greenock (near Glasgow) based band who formed in 2013 and although they have not been together long there is nothing amateurish or thrown together in either the music they play or their approach to the business. For such a young band the sound and quality shown on “The Contract” EP is top notch. I have heard albums with millions thrown at them that have sounded far worse and had the feeling of no effort involved.
They are a four piece, Thrash/ Hard Rock act that have put together four slabs of solid, precise and head bursting metal that you will have to sit down straight after the first listen. A full year of constant gigging has honed their sound, tightened the bands bond and given them a great foundation with which to work on, which is the reason why this is such a good EP.
“Drink or Die” kicks things off and there were only two who could have written that title, Lemmy or someone Scottish. This track has a real NWOBHM feel about it. It was when bands were moving away from punk to metal. Guitars had to be faster, drums louder but they still had that punk swagger and aggressive feel, an anger of a damned generation. Mix that with some thrash and a liberal dose of Motorhead and you will be just about touching the feel of this song.
The title track is next up and this sounds like a Megadeth stalwart apart from one thing, it kicks the crap out of Mr happy’s offerings. You can really feel the early Metallica influence and the drumming is very much Lars at his very best. A great track and well deserved of the EPs title. I loved the tempo change into soaring guitar work.
The penultimate offering is “Give me Time” another early Thrash sounding song mixed with a liberal sprinkling of punk, stoner and early Sabbath. The tracks get stronger and I wonder if they were recorded in the same order as they were written as if they were we are in for a total treat down the line. Some great guitar work again with a real feeling of running from the gates of hell, they know they are doomed but they do not want caught just yet. They have more chaos to reek upon this world.
The best is definitely saved for last. As they say in the boys hometown “haud the bus”. The first time I played this I did have a little scratch of my head, thinking what did I just hear? I played it again again straight away and I have played it numerous times since then. It is an absolute Metal masterpiece. It is a carefully crafted and thought out song. It burts of Metallica’s Whom the Bells Tolls but for me the years between that offering and the multitude of influences that have delved their way into this bands dark souls has made it much better. It starts slowly with a sort of graveyard feel, weeping guitar and clear, sadness draped male and female vocals before ripping you a new one with stunning guitars and a chugging Sabbath style riff. “ For the Wicked” is as good as you will hear from a new release and dare I say a song that this young band should never have been able to write at such a stage in their art but I suppose talent will shine through no matter the experience.
All in all this is a brilliant release from what I can call a local band, a band I have already organised to see live. I cannot wait to see this collection of songs played in the live environment and I will have to reign myself in from singing “For the wicked” at the top of my lungs like a love longing groupie. For anyone else in the Glasgow area please see the below dates and support a band that is well worth the small effort of getting of your ass and spending a few quid.