I'll Be Damned

I'll Be Damned

Written by: PP on 13/01/2016 23:16:47

So it looks like I'll be going against the stream with this one. I'll Be Damned from Århus has been called everything from the next Volbeat or D-A-D from Denmark to one of the finest debutants Denmark has seen in recent memory in frankly crazy accolades by national critics. Much of this can be attributed to the sheer amount of attitude and confidence that oozes from their self-titled debut album--admittedly, comparable to the likes of Down/Pantera with its muscular "don't take no for an answer" hooliganism--which has seemingly clouded the judgment of my colleagues in the Danish rock media. Because let's be honest here, once you ignore the rowdy, I'll shove my fist down your throat type of vocal delivery, the expression isn't exactly particularly original.

And here's why. How many other Danish bands can you name from the top of your head playing more or less an identical style of tired, cliché-riddled rock'n'roll? I'll have a go: TurboChild, SuperCharger, Bullet Train Blast, Black Swamp Water, Black City, Powderhog, Revolt...the list goes on and on to the point of saturation where you literally can't tell these bands apart from each other. No points for originality for I'll Be Damned. To compensate, the band attempt to mask their stubborn rock'n'roll expression with muscular riffs, occasional southern rock vibes, and a few atmosphere-driven pieces like "Your Only Home", which creates a Western theme that almost makes you feel like you're in a saloon in the wild west just before a brawl breaks out. It's enough to dress up the sound to make it acceptable, decent even, but the record is too inconsistent to do better than that.

Let's focus on the good parts first. "Real Monsters" is a great example of I'll Be Damned doing things right. It has light gang shouts as vocals and heavy riffs that give the song a catchy vibe. Similarly, the humour in the slower and more groovy piece "People Who Hate People (Come Together)" works, not to even mention it's easily sing-alongable chorus that should be a hit at their live shows. Opener "Believe It" relies on tight, effect-laden guitars that bring to mind Kyuss and CKY, but the pedal is never floored the same way for the remainder of the album for some reason. D-A-D influence is scattered across the album, and if you merge it with Phil Anselmo's attitude and a few revivalist rock references here and there, you've arrived at "I'll Be Damned" in a nutshell.

Now, here's the bad news. It's still not very original. The good songs are catchy and stick to mind, whilst tracks like "Fever" and "Drainage" are so cliché it hurts, and there are more of the latter than the former. The much praised socio-political lyricism also takes an occasional dive into toilet humour category, as the "Suck satan's cock and be happy and masturbate to the glistening gold" line demonstrates on "Right For The Money", which is a major turnoff for anyone with half a brain, if you ask me. Yes, the record is heavy for a rock'n'roll record, groovy and rowdy in the best Western saloon bar brawl style, and the attitude is definitely in the right place. But simply put, there aren't enough memorable songs for the album to leave a lasting impression.

Download: People Who Hate People (Come Together), Real Monsters, Believe It, Fuck The World (Be Happy)
For the fans of: Down, Bullet Train Blast, Supercharger, Pantera, Airbourne, D-A-D
Listen: Facebook

Release date 19.10.2015
Prime Collective

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