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Album Review: Damnation Army – Death Macabre

Damnation Army have been around for quite some time, with demos dating back to 2003. They had a few full-lengths, with the last one dropping in 2009, but they hadn’t done anything else until this year’s Death Macabre. This is pretty straightforward blackened death metal to the core. Most of the riff foundation takes the black metal route, with moments in almost every track that resemble melodic death metal.

For the most part, the drums dominate a lot of the mix here with beats blasting at intense speeds and cymbal crashes used to sharpen up the atmosphere. This can sometimes make the guitars difficult to get to, but that’s usually the point with this plan of attack. When the guitars do break through, it’s pretty magnificent and they act as a chance to catch your breath. “Dawn Of Sacrifice” is a great example of how Damnation Army keeps the darkened attitude while also letting solos and lead-breaks cut through the air.

 As you’d expect, the vocals really don’t jump out anywhere on here, as the shrieks aren’t meant to be the forefront of Death Macabre. The structures are built heavily on shifts from crazy intensity where the drums team up with the muddy guitars and hoarse vocals to create a dirty atmosphere, to moments where the air feels clean. This is predominantly where the melodies and death metal leanings will come in, yielding higher octave solo work and thick bridges; the “catch your breath” moments, if you will.

There really isn’t a lot of variation here, as most of what I just described fits every tune; some just excel better than others. But as I said, this is kind of meant to have a one-sided approach. Thankfully it isn’t overly long, and the cleaner breaks help it out. This is definitely a grower and meant for a specific mood.

Death Macabre was self-released on January 17, 2019, and is only available digitally for the time being on the Bandcamp page.

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