Damnation A.D. "In This Life or the Next" CDPosted on Tuesday, June 19th, 2007 @ 8:47am » permalink
Am I a Damnation A.D. fan? Of course I'm a fucking Damnation A.D. fan! Love 'em. And seeing as it's been almost nine years since their last album, the absolutely impeccable "Kingdom of Lost Souls" ("Wait for a Day" is one of the greatest songs ever), I was psyched when this shit showed up in my mailbox. I'm generally at least mildly hesitant as to what I'll expect from a reunion album, but for some reason I didn't even think twice about that with regard to "In This Life or the Next" (on Victory Records). The layout stinks, but I looked right past that and popped the disc in immediately. So… the verdict? Well… honestly? I don't know. It's not bad, but oddly enough considering my complete lack of doubt as to its quality, it's definitely not all that it could have been. I think one of the biggest issues with the album as a whole is the recording, though. It's a little inconsistent in that you can't hear much bass in most of the songs, so it sounds like there's a pretty big gap between the guitars and the drums, but everything sounds a little weird to me regardless (except the bass, when you can actually make it out). The band has almost always tended towards thick, oddly textured guitar tones that take some getting used to, so I'm not necessarily bothered by that here, but there's something about the drums… they're super dense, but they sort of sound unnatural sometimes as well, which is an odd contrast. I mean, to me, the production on "Kingdom of Lost Souls" was flawless across the board, and this album sounds like perhaps they were reacting to that "polish" with an intentionally rawer, dirtier sound. Something's off, though. I don't know, I remember the first time I heard "No More Dreams…" 12 or so years ago, I fucking hated the recording, so… maybe this is a similar situation where my ears just have to be forced into getting used to it? The problem is that the songs on "No More Dreams…" were fucking incredible, whereas here… I mean, like I said, it's not bad, but… it's just not what it could have been.
To clarify that, this is still clearly a Damnation A.D. record. It's not like they've changed their style at all. It's just that the songs themselves aren't as gripping or powerful as the band's old material. I do think that a stronger recording would've benefited the material – I could see some of these songs more immediately connecting under such circumstances – but… you know, that's still not optimal. And why did they re-record three old tracks? Even "The Hangedman" – which I guess is considered one of their "classics", though honestly it's never been one of my favorites – isn't better than the version on "No More Dreams of Happy Endings". The same goes for "Rain as My Veil" and "Addiction" from "Misericordia", I just don't see that there was a need to re-record any of these tracks, you know? And dudes from Fall Out Boy contributing vocals to a Damnation A.D. song ("If You Could Remember") is just fucking wrong. I'm sorry. And I am not saying that in any manner of bullshit hardcore "principles", either. I like Fall Out Boy and own a couple of their albums, but that vocal style just doesn't gel with Damnation A.D.'s punishingly heavy attack. That's just a fact. I'm definitely really torn here, because I don't dislike the album, but I'm disappointed, I can't lie. I hate "complaining" about bands that I've loved for over a decade, and in situations like this there's always the issue of having exceedingly high expectations because of being a longtime fan, but… who knows? A few of the new tracks are definitely very solid (the album basically starts out pretty strong and slowly starts to lag around the latter half), and I do hope the band's reunion continues on to yield future albums, but… if you're not familiar with 'em already, I'd highly suggest checking out "Kingdom of Lost Souls" to get a true impression of the sheer mastery that these guys are capable of at their best.
Don't leech shit for free, if you want it, buy a copy: