Album: Ashen Path
Release Date: October, 2018
Label: Self Released
Review by John
After impressing with last year’s EP ‘The Wrath Of The Tide’, Scottish metallers Damaj are set to return with their full length debut.
Of the 11 tracks on offer, 4 are re-recorded versions of the tracks that made up ‘The Wrath Of The Tide’ with the remaining being all new material.
While ‘The Wrath Of The Tide’ was a solid enough work in its own right, the new versions do benefit from better production values, with a noticeable difference in quality from the originals. ‘The Well Of Souls’ in particular now packs more crunch than a multipack of Monster Munch.
Of the newer material, opener ‘Traverse The Dark’ begins with an interesting piano piece which gradually builds up atmosphere before blowing the listener away on a wave of fire and fury which sets the tone for the album as a whole.
Bordering the divide between classic metal and all out thrash, the band draw on a number of influences and mix them all into an almost perfect whole.
‘Harsh Reality’ has all the energy and aggression of Megadeth at their very best, while ‘Suffered Too Much’ throws in some fine Maidenesque flourishes, but with an old school thrash flavour.
‘Where Is Your God?’ sees the band practically demanding you to bang your head, with frontman Daniel Stewart sounding almost Hetfield-like in his delivery on a track that is reminiscent of some of the better material from ‘Load’, and seems almost destined to become a live favourite.
Perhaps the albums most stand out moment comes in the form of ‘Dying Day’, a stripped down, atmospheric ballad of sorts that channels pure emotion, but somehow loses none of the power of the rest of the album. Evoking memories of the sort of slower paced tracks that Testament used to excel at such as ‘The Legacy’ and ‘The Ballad’, it’s a track that makes the listener sit up and take notice. If ‘Dying Day’ was a track on a new Metallica album then people would be rightly shouting from the rooftops about it. It really is that good.
Album closer ‘Traverse The Light’ ensures that things end in much the same way as they began, with epic riffs creating a slab of pure unadulterated thrash, before we fade out with a return to the haunting piano that got things underway.
With ‘Ashen Path’, Damaj have served up an album that draws on the best that old school thrash has to offer, but given it a contemporary polish to ensure that it still feels fresh and exciting.
On the evidence here, this is a band with a bright future ahead.
01. Traverse The Dark
02. Harsh Reality
03. The Wrath Of The Tide
05. Dying Day
06. Suffered Too Much
07. The Testament Of Judas
08. Where Is Your God?
09. The Well Of Souls
10. The King
11. Traverse The Light
Visit the band on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DamajBand
Get ‘The Wrath Of The Tide’ EP here: damajofficial.bandcamp.com