Review – We Are the Damned: Doomvirate

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Review – We Are the Damned: Doomvirate
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We Are the Damned: Doomvirate
Crossover Thrash, Crust Punk, Death Metal, Grindcore
Lifeforce Records
May 23rd, 2014
Release length: 30:01
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We Are the Damned is a Lisbon, Portugal based Death Metal and Grindcore band (though their Facebook about page claims they are “metal black” and others list them as Death ‘n Roll) that formed back in 2007. Over the course of the next seven years, they issued a small number of well received efforts starting with their 2008 full-length The Shape of Hell to Come. After a handful of EPs and a follow-up in 2011 titled Holy Beast, they find themselves signed with Lifeforce Records to unleash their latest album, Doomvirate. But is this new outing on such a widely recognized label a chance for them to tear your face off as well as a wider unsuspecting audience, or do they simply try to do too much at once?

Doomvirate has a great deal of unbridled anger and hatred spewing forth on nearly every track, and it’s impossible not to get swept up in its energy after the ominous minute long introduction. The guitars have a rich buzz to them with the bass coming through at a decent level. There are some blackened chords at times, but the band focuses largely on a mixture of Death Metal brutality with aggressive Grindcore riffs with drums that throw some two-step into the mix. There’s a hint of Hardcore as well just past the half way mark that commences the slow advancement to a trudging Nile-esque slam breakdown that is as punishing as it is atmospheric until things pick up once more about four minutes in. In theory, this all seems like an absolute cluster fuck for lack of a better term, but We Are the Damned manage to turn it into a cohesive abrasive assault you won’t soon walk away from in one piece, unlike some of the others that hit later in the recording.

“Dreams Under Surveillance” carries more of a Swedish Death Metal touch to the chords, but that venomous hatred is still there in the gritty audio quality and distorted raspy screaming. There’s some layered growling about a minute and a half in as well, and it makes for a nice additional perk to the shift into Grindcore. “Macabre Expedition” is yet another fast paced assault that just refuses to let go of your throat. Much of the time you’re pounded against with a crushing Death Metal performance that can become incredibly dismal, such as around two and a half minutes in with some of the twisted melodies that hit to make it a little more oppressive. Again there’s a heavy Grindcore foundation at play that sounds great for the most part, but there are a few sections that the bass seems to drop out slightly, thinning out the music for a bit. This isn’t the first time you’ll pick up on it, and it happens again at the start of the Punk heavy “Angelsick,” though oddly enough not during the short breakdown about a minute in.

“Imposter” has plenty of catchy riffs and steady drum patterns that skirt the line of standard Death Metal with a crusty outer coating. For the most part it carries Grindcore foundation with deep, harsher rasps that sound as vile as the music itself. This isn’t as intense as some of the other cuts, but it in no way limits the amount of rage on display. In fact the end incorporates that blackened touch again for a very haunting atmosphere to the chorus to make you feel completely worthless before heading right into the Hardcore fuelled “The Threshold.” The solid rhythm outlined by the drums is enough to make a mosh or dance pit open up wherever the song could be heard. The pace slows down about half way through, but not to a breakdown. With the way the guitars sound, it gives off the sensation of background chanting against the rougher shouting, almost as if giving way to a Progressive Devin Townsend Project euphoria that seems to come out of nowhere.

When you happen to search for We Are the Damned on-line, you’ll come across a lot of different ideas as to what the style is. Everything from Crust Punk to Death ‘n Roll has been considered about their output. There’s no denying the band manages to incorporate a good deal into their sound, and it only helps fuel the abrasive, venomous material that seeps into your brain through the speakers. Not every track is too unique though. Some end up pretty standard Hardcore and Grindcore cuts, but even the most standard ones are still rather aggressive. Sadly, the problem is you can definitely feel the album losing steam the more traditional the music gets. One spin through Doomvirate and you are almost guaranteed to get pumped up and release some pent up anger from today’s high stress enducing world, if not becoming the perfect soundtrack to your pissed off acts of violence.

01. Ghastly Humans – 4:40
02. Dreams Under Surveillance – 2:40
03. Revealing Morality – 3:32
04. Rain of Spikes – 2:26
05. Imposter – 3:25
06. The Threshold – 2:59
07. Macabre Expedition – 3:26
08. Angelsick – 2:57
09. Flight of the Phoenix – 3:57
Initial Pressing Score: 8/10

We Are the Damned
We Are the Damned

Digital review copy of this release provided by Lifeforce Records.