Home > Albums > View

Damnation A.D. In This Life Or The Next

[ 9,843 views ]
Damnation A.D. - In This Life Or The Next
01. Exspecta Taut Abyssus
02. Knot
03. Don't Feel a Thing
04. Let Me In
05. Jigsaw
06. The Hangedman
07. If You Could Remember
08. Consider This a Warning
09. Rain as My Veil
10. Addiction
11. Jigsaw Reprise
12. In This Life or The Next
2007 Victory Records

OUR SCORE
7
USER SCORE
-
Reviewed by: Michael Gluck   //   Published: 8/9/2007

Not many people expected a new Damnation A.D. record to surface at this point in time, and even fewer are aware of simply how influential the band's releases and individual members have been in paving the path for what we now label metalcore. For fans of nineties' D.C. hardcore, the wait since Kingdom of Lost Souls, Damnation A.D.'s metallic Revelation Records classic of 1998, has been agonizing. A devotee since their early Jade Tree years, I consider In This Life or The Next to be a satisfying, if slightly indulgent, renewal to the band's muddy yet captivating classic sound.

While complaints about the album already seem to be making the rounds, attacking relatively superficial aspects including its chic artwork, the loud and weighty production, and the impressive gathering of guest vocalists who jumped at the prospect of being involved with a new Damnation A.D. release, what ultimately invalidates most criticisms is guitarist and lyricist Ken Olden's proven and strikingly traditional songwriting prowess. Damnation A.D.'s producer and primary songwriter since the beginning, Olden has been at the forefront of D.C. hardcore since the early 90's, when he formed straight edge, youth crew heroes Battery, a band plagiarized more than ever during the still-running old school revival. In the years since Kingdom of Lost Souls however, Olden has largely focused on producing bands full-time, while frontman Mike McTernan (brother of legendary D.C. producer Brian McTernan, who recorded classic albums from such diverse bands as Darkest Hour, Reach The Sky, and Bane) has been keeping busy in other areas of the industry.

What seems to have been at least one of the primary factors in reuniting the legendary Damnation A.D. is a fairly recent project in which Olden and McTernan collaborated alongside Unholy guitarist Jonathan Dennison and possibly the hardcore scene's finest active drummer, Jarrod Alexander (Hope Conspiracy, Death By Stereo, Throwdown, Give Up The Ghost, Bars). The band in question is When Tigers Fight, and they have thus far released an EP and a full-length on Indecision Records, to generally positive responses despite a lack of American touring. One could easily recognize the Damnation A.D. nucleus at the forefront of this band, thus rendering a full reunion much closer than Olden and McTernan likely imagined at the time.

For a hardcore band that still stands firm using a now-dated form of 4/4 beats and simple chord progressions, Damnation A.D. pull off all they can within the boundaries of what they feel their fans would accept, ending up with an impressively tweaked version of a sound they couldn't change if they tried. Ken Olden's sludgy and doomy guitar riffs are strewn over current Most Precious Blood drummer Colin Kercz's raw and intentionally loose drum foundation. The nineties trend of drums not stealing nearly as much of the spotlight as today is honored by Kercz's uncomplicated contribution to this album. And just as spoken-word samples snaked through intros and bridges on their 1995 debut No More Dreams of Happy Endings, so too has In This Life or The Next been treated with more than its fair share of obscure, somber movie clips. This aids the album's depth factor, and upgrades the listening process to an emotional one; a rare feat in this age of predictable, emotionless metal and hardcore.

Who are the aforementioned guest vocalists, then On "Don't Feel a Thing," those involved in the hardcore scene around the turn of the century will recognize Give Up The Ghost's Wes Eisold shouting his way through entire verses. Then on the edge-political "Addiction," one of the authorities on the subject, Earth Crisis/Path of Resistance/Freya frontman Karl Buechner, lends his unmistakable roar. An old D.C. friend, Darkest Hour's John Henry, stretches his gravelly chords over the fittingly Darkest Hour-esque "Consider This a Warning." Then, in what continues to be the album's most talked about moment, for better or worse, Fall Out Boy songwriters Patrick Stump and Pete Wentz (formerly of political hardcore bands Arma Angelus and Racetraitor) lead the charge with dual harmonies on the solemn and, as you would have thought, quite effective broken heart anthem, "If You Could Remember." Never before had Damnation A.D. written a non-abrasive, nevermind somewhat soothing, hard rock song. But here it is on In This Life or The Next, and no matter how guarded you are when approaching it, the song will catch you. Good luck evading its capture, because you won't go very far. I'm actually surprised it has taken Damnation A.D. this long to venture into clean vocal territory, considering the majority of Ken Olden's riffs fall right between classic rock and down-tuned doom.

Bottom Line: It has taken so long for Damnation A.D. to release a new album that it would be fair to assume the majority of their fans have by now grown up and written them off. This would ultimately be to their disadvantage though, because In This Life or The Next is a persuasive argument that the band have not lost their touch as years went by without them. Whether Damnation A.D. are still capable of filling venues is a different story entirely, and it remains to be seen if that is even the band's goal at this point in their individual careers altogether. The misleading cover art is not intended to deliberately repel old fans, but I imagine to attract new ones, which the band will ultimately need in order to survive a much more competitive and progressive metalcore scene than the one they helped create. In This Life or The Next should catch you just like their earlier work did, and perhaps even more now.

Comments
wordupsun_   posted 8/18/2007 1:04:14 AM
yo! for all the dudes that are complaing about there being too many re-records on this record, you should know that there is only one. Both The Hangedman and Addiction are from the Kingdom of Lost Souls sessions. Just listen and you can tell. Dudes that loved that record should be stoked that these recordings are finally surfacing. Futhermore, people that are true Damnation fans will be totally stoked that Rain As My Veil sounds f*cking incredible and super agressive compared to the Miserico
xtroyx's mom_   posted 8/13/2007 12:30:09 PM
dinner's ready xtroyx
xtroyx_   posted 8/11/2007 7:52:03 PM
one of the worst reviews on lambgoat. i usually don't criticize, but what point did the second and third paragraphs make? and this age of predictable music we're living in is a bullshit generalization. i don't want to read about how you think you know about music and can make such judgments. tell me about the record, not what you know about scenes and careers.
punty_   posted 8/10/2007 10:50:49 PM
this band PWNS ALL gayGOLZ
brian_   posted 8/10/2007 4:46:03 PM
if this wasn't a band that gluck used to pleasure to, the "superficial" attacks on "chic artwork, the loud and weighty production and the tons of guest vocalists" would have caused this cd to get a 4 or 5 instead of a 7. but since he likes damnation ad, it gets a 7. suck it.

view all 14 comments