Album of the Month – The Damned

Artist: The Damned
Title: Darkadelic
Released: 28th April 2023
The Damned – the name itself is a manifesto of defiance, a spit in the face of the establishment. And that’s exactly what this band has been doing for over four decades, kicking against the pricks with a ferocity and passion that few of their contemporaries can match.
From their earliest days in the British punk scene of the late 70s, The Damned have always stood out from the pack. While their peers were content to wallow in nihilism and amateurish musicianship, they brought a level of musicianship and showmanship that was simply unheard of in the genre.
At the heart of their sound was always their frontman, Dave Vanian. With his towering pompadour, dark sunglasses, and gothic sensibility, Vanian was a punk icon from the very beginning. His rich baritone voice was a revelation in a genre that was more accustomed to shouting and sneering, and his charismatic stage presence made him an instant star.
Intense moments were never in short supply for The Damned. Their live shows were legendary for their chaos and unpredictability, with Vanian often prowling the stage in full vampire regalia, and guitarist Captain Sensible never far behind with his trademark striped pants and oversized sunglasses. The band’s music was similarly intense, with driving rhythms, jagged guitars, and lyrics that tackled everything from politics to social injustice to the horrors of modern life.
But even as the group reveled in their punk rock excess, they never lost sight of the importance of craft. Their early albums, including the seminal “Damned Damned Damned” and “Music For Pleasure,” showcased a band with a deep understanding of melody and song structure, even as they pushed the boundaries of what punk rock could be. And as the band evolved over the years, incorporating elements of goth, new wave, and even psychedelia into their sound, they never lost sight of their punk roots.
For all their musical and theatrical accomplishments, though, it’s perhaps their longevity that is their most impressive feat. Few bands of their era have managed to stay together and stay relevant for as long as they have, releasing acclaimed albums decades after their punk rock heyday.
And now, 46 years after releasing the ground-breaking debut, Damned Damned Damned, The Damned return with Darkadelic, their 12th studio album. Darkadelic steams along and features some of their sharpest songwriting and genre-bending performances to date, drenched in classic horror movie references, nods to swinging ’60s London, and a refined palette of musical influences.


Darkadelic is out now on cd & lp!

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