Tuesday, April 26, 2016

DAM - Premonitions (2016)

Brazil's DAM have released a new EP, a few years after the release of their latest album, The Awakening (2014). Now the last EP they released was also in 2014, right before the release of said album, so it is possible that they're prepared to do the same with their next disc as well. There's a slight differentiation from the band's previous material here, but it only lasts for about four minutes or so and doesn't really hold a bearing on the rest of the record. If you like Dark Tranquillity, At The Gates, In Flames and a whole lot of keyboards, then you're still going to find something to like here and that has not changed. As a matter of fact, let me just address the elephant in the room right now. That track in particular is called “Untouchable (My Past Mistakes)” and it has a bit of a Goth/death feel, maybe like they tapped into Graveworm or were a bit influenced by The Deathstars. There's no industrialization to be found here, but the track does feature an unexpected female vocalist. It almost feels like they're trying to be early Tristania/Sirenia and I suppose that's fine, but a lot of DAM fans are going to wonder exactly what the hell is going on and I couldn't blame them, as this piece is by and large different from anything else on the album. It's so different, that they should have just released it under a different band name altogether. Folks, when I say that this doesn't even sound like DAM, I mean it.

As for the rest of the tracks? Business as usual, just like I said. Every single other piece is fast paced, full of atmosphere as well as ravenous drum tapping which is ultimately beefed by the guitar and keyboard compositions. What seems to have made DAM so great is their attention to detail in these areas, and I really think that's what the listener is going to hear as well. The clean vocals are strong as well, and they help – but as far as the harsh approach goes, it's not anything that I couldn't do personally and wouldn't consider it that amazing. Let's be honest though, I'm not promoting DAM's new EP among others because of the vocal element, I'm promoting it because they've got skill and talent, which they keep showing on each and every record. Premonitions is the kind of record that only shows the very best of what they're capable of and doesn't really need to be followed up with a full-length right away. Though that will probably be the case with this disc, it doesn't have to be and gives the listener more than enough quality material to chew on, even if we took “Untouchable” off the disc and threw it into the woods somewhere. Chopping away the cut, you'll still get thirty-four minutes of memorable music that sounds exactly we've expected from DAM and that's nothing to whine about. There are even some unexpected jazz and prog theatrics injected into closer “Frustration (Imprisoned Dreams)” which when combined with everything else turn it into a rather memorable moment, and a brilliant place to end the listen. I feel that the listener will feel satisfied after the record has ended, and as I said, we don't really need more right now after this. These gentlemen have literally put everything they've got into these tracks and you can hear that quite clearly. DAM are only getting better, which leads to experimentation that sometimes will work for them, and sometimes will not. As far as “Untouchable” is considered, I feel that it really is a strong song and I'd love to hear more like it in a possible different act, but it just doesn't sound like the neoclassical melodic death metal that we know and love from these Brazilian masters of the art. They've still yet to release their magnum opus, but whatever comes after Premonitions may very well be just that.

(6 Tracks, 39:00)


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