Anyone who’s previously heard Damad but has yet to see them play live might be a bit bewildered to find a woman, Victoria Scalisi, fronting the mic. A not-too-uncommon question heard, then, is “Does that chick sing on their records?” Yes, Scalisi does indeed “sing” on Damad’s studio efforts, and she possesses one hellish voice, one that’s equal parts death-metal bellow and black-metal wretch.
But she also has a capable crew behind her, and with Burning Cold, the band’s second album, Damad have finally found their niche, wisely jettisoning the spiraling Slayer-circle-pit-sections-elongated-into-songs ethic of yore for one that’s even more spiraling and punishing. Like a bastard cousin of early Swans and prime Godflesh or Eyehategod, the Savannah, Georgia quartet lunges to ‘n’ fro with the utmost deliberation, erecting dense walls of bleak cacophony without relying on overly plodding tempos or rote chugga-chugga riffing. Instead, guitarist Philip Cope saturates the proceedings with ghostly, tremeloed minor chords and copious abuse of the flanger and chorus pedals. Scalisi, too, has come into her own as of late, her vocal lacerations more frightening than previously dreamt, dually scaring and scarring the fragile psyche; plus, she even coos an innocent, sweet-hearted nursery-rhyme-styled melody on “Hide and Seek” – all the eerier, I suppose.
More physically and psychologically damaging and dynamic than anything Damad has ever committed to plastic, Burning Cold is the new soundtrack to those black-rain days.
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