Damokles´ sophomore album is even more feisty than the first one. They have fused their creative forces into making another engaging, ferocious, and high-spirited album.
The album comes a year and a half after their first album. But these musicians are veterans; we can easily call them an underground supergroup that has erupted from the Oslo underground scene and its members are involved in a lot of musical projects. Their music is a mix of genres based on the melodic and emotive cornerstones of Post Punk and Post Hardcore reaching back to the raw power of the early days of Punk.
After releasing their first album, they made a playlist for Veil of Sound showing the diverse influences of their music, stating: “We’re a versatile band and life is simply too short for boring genre purism.” Their music is solid proof of that statement. As musicians, they are extremely versatile and the vocalist seems able to handle any style you throw at him.
You get this from the opening song, “Our Eyes Upon You In Dreams” with its hypnotic pulsating and repetitive music with synths and piano in the sonics. The vocals are insisting, more speaking than singing and a distant chorus joins repeating the lines ”Sleep again / Sleep again”.
The keyboards from this song sink into the opening tones of the next song, “Marks Vs. Wounds”. As the bass and drums begin to rumble they’re followed by repetitive riffs; the bass is grooving at the bottom and emotional and pressed vocals find their place in the sound, singing ”Born into this world / And its possibilities / Absorbing abilities / To do harm”. As with most of the songs on the album, this too takes a turn, the riffs following the melody sung by the vocals, and hard shifty drumming. Guitars disappear and only bass and drums support the vocals, the guitars strum and the vocals are desperate in the background before the riffage lifts the song. The drumming is impressive, constantly changing the rhythm as the guitars elongate their riffs before turning the song into repetitive chugs and the vocals far in the background, one guitar sliding out in a corner closing into a short solo.
The third song on the album becomes a sparkling melodic firework of sounds as the whole band sings the chorus in harmony and the vocalist shows his range from desperate shrieking to strong soft vocals in the chorus. Riffs, drums, and bass open “Let’s Build A Fortress” before it slips into a melodic tune where the vocals constantly change the mood of the song. It turns out to be a joyful sing-along-tune so impressively executed that you will have earworms for a long time. In the end, the music simmers down with strumming guitars and drums and the harmonic chorus echoing the lead vocals.
You can feel the joy the creative musicians have pouring out this music throughout the album. The drums drive every song forward impressively, the bass gives depth and melody when the guitars leave the riffs to swirl a bit and the vocalist gives the emotive to the sonics, the raw power that seeps from the band. It continues into the title song ”Swing, Pendulum, Swing” which opens with heavy bass and strong vocals. ”Swing, Pendulum, Swing / For each throat and every neck / Swing pendulum swing.”. And here we are at another strong facot the band has going for themselves; the lyrics. They’re there to trigger your imagination, to let your thoughts fly with the music.
On the song ”Futile Feast” the strong and insisting vocals sing : »Let’s celebrate / This futile feast again / Now who’s got a sight of the endgame / Let´s just get endgames in sight / This futile feast again». The band joins in singing and lifting the song up to a strong engaging melodic piece of music before taking twists and turning into heavy dense music with vocals echoing each other and a guitar breaks out in a glissading higher pitched solo, before it simmers down to doom-like heaviness, both in expression and in pace. And then there are only a guitar and the vocals back again ending the track in a surge up to a new melodic and engaging part where the band´s joy of making this diverse and engaging music seeps through.
“Downpour For Lifetimes” is a hard, fast energetic punk-inspired song with screaming yet melodic vocals. Guitars swirl into a high-pitched solo where the bass holds the melody between the riffs. It races forward ebbing and flowing following a melody before it turns to a slower pace with the other members joining in singing.
On “Don’t Forget The Fear” the song has a wonderful twist as the song seeps into a part where it cannot decide which direction it might take. The music swirls slowly in all directions before the drums push them away hitting cymbals and drums up a fast stroll before it magically fades away tumbling in on itself.
The album continues its feisty drive with “Something’s Amiss at The Hive” that includes some dense, heavy parts and twists as the music halts with the bass accompanying echoing screams until it fuses back to melodic distorted flow that is soon lifted by higher pitched guitar laying out a solo that fuses with the vocals. “Our Words As A Warning” has wonderful harmonies that give the urge to sing along before it the vocal becomes pressed with only high-pitched bass drums and desperate vocals until a new turn where the music tumbles forward regardless of the melodic harmonies floating above it. It is so well done.
Nearing the end of the album “On Being Lazarus” contains an energic flow of music with the harmonies sung, the riffs and the fast brightener drumming as one guitar breaks away shifting on doing higher pitched solos and then it surges together again with the harmonies that make you want to sing along. The album closes with “My First Mugshot” with vocals sometimes more talking than singing and the music taking a dip into the industrial genre before furious vocals drive the pulsating music forward and the guitars begin to whirl higher pitched solo in the dense layers of the song.
The music holds and churns, sound effects coming from all directions as the vocals scream in furious desperation, ”You get what you get”. A good sum up of the album; what you get is 50 minutes of the contagious joy you sense the band has of playing this whirl of dazzling music.