Damim – A Fine Game Of Nil
Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings
Release Date: 28/06/2019
Running Time: 42:40
Review by ‘Dark Juan’
It is Saturday night in rural France. The local gossips have returned to their homes after disseminating all possible information to the entire village, and probably have been strapped back into their scold’s bridles by the husbands who are STILL covering up twenty year old affairs of the heart with the lady on the Rue de Ty Lidec. I, Dark Juan, The Gothfather, Love Commando and Sex Fuhrer to toffs and gentry, am sitting, beer in hand and having my face torn clean off by this piece of SAVAGERY masquerading as music entitled “A Fine Game Of Nil” by British neo-blackened metallers Damim – Damim being Arabic/Aramaic for bloodshed, I believe. That’s about the only useful fact you’ll get out of this stream of consciousness bollocks you’re about to read, so treasure it, ok?
First of all, I have to say the production work on this record is extremely satisfying, almost to the point of orgasm. Everything is so crystal fucking clear the band might as well be sat in my head battering the inside of my cranium with high powered amplification and pneumatic drills. However this is ultra-precise savagery, because Damim as musicians are tighter than a duck’s arse, and probably considerably more waterproof because they write huge, coruscating songs of complexity, power and depth and play them at a speed that Formula One drivers would struggle to comprehend. There are many key changes and time changes but nothing of the music, even when it’s flitting from one tempo to another, is extraneous. The musical progressions are logical and impressive and it all fits together like a particularly complex heavy fucking metal jigsaw puzzle. Special mention must also go to Nathanael Underwood for his vocals – a primeval, visceral roar that appears to have come from the bowels of some previously undiscovered hell found underneath the foundations of Satan’s bit of it, yet retaining clarity and having words that are actually discernible as they are being sung! This is a momentous feat in death and blackened metal so bonus points to you, old chap!
Normally it just sounds like bears vomiting. Not that all this talk of intelligence, complicated musicianship and socially conscious lyrics should distract you from the fact that this is the dog’s testicles from a sheer metal point of view. There’s blastbeats and brutality in spades. It’s not a battlewagon of a record, it’s a sleek and shiny supersonic jet fighter of one. It’s blindingly fast and sharp and operates precision guided weaponry, and YOU are the target. Damim are out to kill you all with laser-guided accuracy.
So, compositionally exquisite, vocally exemplary and velocity unmatched! There has to be a downside, right? Well, fucking good luck finding one, mate. Damim are a phenomenally intelligent band. The lyrics are pertinent and relevant to events in the world today and even the album title alludes to zero sum game theory. Look it up, it’s actually genuinely fascinating. I love this record so much I have ruined yet more underwear and had to pause in my libertine pursuits of alcohol, laudanum and abusing young ladies to reflect on the sheer majesty and magnificence of what I have just heard. In fact, I have finished the record and literally just pressed play again to start over. It appears I want my face to look like burger meat, considering Damim are flaying it off bit by bit. Favourite tracks on here are ‘Beyond The Call Of Emptiness’, and the hilariously named ‘Something For The Weekend’. It’s hilarious because the song title seems so out of keeping with the rest of the record, OK? I also really like ‘NecroKino’, a tune that the intro reminds me greatly of the synthwave stylings of groups like Gunship offer before pulling out hidden weapons and proceeding to skin you alive with diamond sharp guitars and drums that can cause tectonic misery. The other titles skirt perilously close to one of my favourite sources of comedy – heavy metal word salad song titles. As we shall shortly see!
In short then – if you love extreme metal you’ll fucking love this. If, on the other hand, you think metal begins and ends with Avenged Sevenfold you’ll hate it so much you’ll savagely murder your own parents. “A Fine Game Of Nil” is PROOF that metal is one of the most phenomenally complex styles of music to play and also one of the most difficult to master. Damim have fucking mastered it, made it their collective bitch and are currently beating it into further compliance with flails and chains and all manner of unspeakable other things. The thing is, I am of the opinion that this record is that good that it might win a few converts from the less extreme fans, because although it is brutal deluxe, faster than a trip to the lavatory after a dodgy curry and heavier than a neutronium sex toy, it somehow STILL remains accessible and approachable. Damim have done something remarkable. They have made music bordering on black metal interesting again (which is not easily done as there hasn’t been a proper good black metal record since “Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk”) and also made it something even a new convert could enjoy instead of just the hardened heavy metal warrior. There’s much to enjoy as parts of the music touch on other styles like djent, the odd riff progression has a whiff of nu-metal about it and there is a thrash element running throughout the whole thing. I also think having an excellent production job will also win fans considering most extreme metal sounds like it has been recording using candy floss and asbestos as filters and recorded through the wall next door.
Anyway. A splendid effort from these gentlemen! I’m serious when I say that I consider this to be the album of the year so far. I fucking love it.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System offers Damim a blood soaked and thoroughly gore coated 10/10. Extraordinarily good! I have run out of words.
01. In A Language They Understand
02. Descendant Of Amalek (If you don’t know, Amalek is described in the Hebrew Bible as a country that is an enemy of the Israelites It can also be referring to the nation’s founder, the grandson of Esau. You’re welcome. Just because I despise religion as social control doesn’t mean I haven’t studied the scriptures.)
03. Beyond The Call Of Emptiness (Surely emptiness can’t call? Because it’s like… empty?)
04. Something For The Weekend
06. Body Is Broken
07. Rising Of The Lights
08. Existential Epiphany Within A Waking Dream (The only existential things I get during waking dreams are crises…)
09. All I Want To Know Is (what the rest of this title is because my computer is refusing to tell me. Sorry, chaps.) – (RICK HERE, the full title is ‘All I Want To Know Is How It Ends’)
Nathanael Underwood – Vocals and guitars
Flow Toulman – Drums
Faust Perez – Bass
Edd Amos – Guitars
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Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.
Photo courtesy of Tina Korhonen.