DĂM is the aural equivalent of an earthquake. Coming out of completely nowhere they have tore a deep fissure in the ground threatening to tear the very foundation out from everything you know. What these five men have crafted with their debut release is an epic sweeping journey of immense proportions while simultaneously laying down the framework for the book of “how to” when it comes to Progressive Death Metal.
The technical ability that is displayed is phenomenal. Time changes and irreprehensible song structures combine to craft this bleak atmosphere of dense integrity which clings to the listener in a compelling way. This beauty is created through a multitude of heavy as hell riffage in combination with blistering drum patterns which are anything but boring. Nathanael Underwood gives a strong performance as well behind the mic, adding to the developed sanity through a technique not altogether different from Jeff Walker’s work on later CARCASS outings.
While it cannot be argued that DĂM have crafted a unique sound and experience through “Purity (The Darwinian Paradox)”, the important thing to keep in mind is that the riffs are intense and the songs are actually composed in such a way as to shred the listener and pummel you with unrelenting ferocity which leaves you wanting nothing but more. Give “Fury” a listen and have an ambulance on speed dial. Throughout an entire 50 minutes the album only slows or becomes down-trodden in perhaps 2 tracks and even those have purpose and meaning (as either intermission or intro). The end result of the sound as a whole is that the release comes across as a blend of “Human”-era Death, Carcass’ “Heartwork” and Edge Of Sanity’s “Crimson” all rolled into one majestic behemoth of sound.
While this album is completely fresh and enjoyable there are a few items that need to be reconciled with in order to understand why “Purity…” is not nearly flawless. The first thing about this album that annoyed the hell out of me was the production and mixing involved. The guitars (especially the lead) are mixed far too low. The riffs are sometimes overtaken by the solid drumming and intense vocals and this can be a large problem at times, especially when those riffs slaughter and beg to be ripping through your ear drums. What makes this fact even worse is that the vocals are mixed rather high and overtake the actual music delegating it to a background noise of sorts. I have seen worse mixing jobs but this certainly detracts from some of the more stellar moments of this disc.
This is one of those few instances where a band can pull off technicality while not sinking to a level of Malmsteen or OPETH wankery where the single driving force behind the music is the complexity. DĂM is something completely different and altogether special and must be experienced if you are a fan of Progressive Death Metal. Time and time again the underground has proved much more intriguing than the more linear and consequently popular bands. (Online September 19, 2005)