I do love me a good hard rock/grunge record, it means I get to sink back and just listen to some sweet bare-bones music. Damage Protocol’s self titled record was my latest chance to engage in this activity and boy did I miss it. Although unfamiliar with the groups previous work, it’s fair to say I did go in with a great deal of anticipation. Why? Well the music quality this month has been dire to say the least, with pop track after pop track constantly disappointing me and showing me no edge or individuality. You don’t get that with rock though, it’s much more clean cut. It’s either good or it’s bad, it’s never meh or functional, it’s one side or the other. So with no further adieu, we are going to reveal to you what side we stood on when listening to this EP.
I’ve got to say I was mighty impressed! After listening to this EP, it has left me feeling like I want more and want to see how the group progresses! You always get much more of a buzz around reviewing independent acts because you predict futures and you can see the makings of what can be a great group. I got that same buzz when listening to this play list! So let me dive deeper into why I enjoyed my time listening to this EP…
Firstly, the music came across as intelligent and calculated. The lyrics contained some clever word-play and imaginative phrases, the instrumental progressions were often vibrant and exploratory, and structurally the group weren’t afraid of experimenting. The song ‘Special’ in particular really had me smiling due to some creative drum fills, some exciting chordal bass work and some killer decorative guitar playing.
I loved how the group didn’t limit themselves to genre boundaries either, with influences of classic rock, post punk, alternate rock and metal all prominent in their sound. ‘Heck on first listen ‘Man Down in Missouri’ reminded me a ton of some early Cure type tracks, crazy considering how the group evolve throughout the EP.
The fluidity and balance of the EP was great too, since it felt like each track felt necessary to filling the run time. They didn’t follow the typical routine of a big start, subdued middle and big finish, they just went all out throughout. The tempo always felt high and rich with enthusiasm and passion; something a lot of current rock bands are missing.
The only flaws here for me are based around production; common for any independent group. The drums often lacked a bit of depth and presence in the mix which meant sometimes the track would lose cohesion in it’s textures. The bass also could of done with some extra mastering since it sometimes swamped the mix with this really hearty low end; it lost it’s tone in parts because of it. The vocals however seemed to be mixed very well and the guitar had moments of excellent mixing, especially during the clean section. Going into the next album I would do more double tracking with more guitar tracks; I know they are only a three piece but it just means the mix can be more layered and thick.
Overall a very solid effort from the boys over at Damage Protocol, keep up the good work! The quality riffs, bruising sequences and creative prowess in this record equals a good time any day of the week!
Favourite tracks: Special, 52, Man Down In Missouri
Buy the EP here: https://damageprotocol.bandcamp.com/releases