Dãm - The Difference Engine
Progressive Death Metal
9 songs (41:02)
Release year: 2007
Dãm, Candlelight
Reviewed by Goat
Album of the month

Taking its name from the Hebrew word for blood, London four-piece Dãm has, incredibly, been in existence for nearly ten years. Coming highly recommended by Samoth (Emperor, Zyklon etc) The Difference Engine is only the band’s second album in that time, after 2005’s well received Purity: The Darwinian Paradox.

Although Dãm is described as being Prog Death, there’s a real variety of genres going into the melting pot here. Vocalist Nathaniel is excellent, moving between varying forms of shrieks and growls without sounding forced or weak, all whilst remaining perfectly understandable. Think a mixture of Jeff Walker, Rob Dukes, Satyr and Jaz Coleman and you’re partway there. Of course, you can hear elements of those bands' sounds in Dãm’s, from Carcass and Exodus’ energetic riffing to Satyricon and Killing Joke’s dark atmospherics. Truthfully, you could describe Dãm as nearly anything and be correct.

It’s this versatility that goes a long way towards making The Difference Engine as good as it is. Everyone that listens to it is going to hear something different, something fresh. Take the title track and opening number for an example, bursting into your ears with a barrage of Black Metal before moving laterally into an epic pattern of riffs with an almost orchestral melody. A solo comes from nowhere, technical drum fills painting the background red, before things switch down a gear, manic yelps and hoarse singing twisting their way momentarily across a Thrash riff before exploding back into violence. Need it be said that this all gels perfectly, even with breakdowns present but absorbed flawlessly into the overall sound? Eyeballing continues the album with an exploration of the groovier side of chaos, whilst Mirror-Image Ritual takes the band’s technical side to the limits.

As the cover art, showing a Dali-esque flooded Industrial landscape, would suggest, this band is as much about atmosphere as it is about a killer riff or ten. Little touches like the distorted riffs that start A Wound That Never Heals paint the entire experience a few shades darker, making the experience more of a journey than a ‘mere’ listen. On the first few listens you’ll ‘get’ the catchier moments straight away, but it’s the promise of what shadowy secrets that the other songs hold that’ll keep you listening, and that’s the mark of a great album, one that seizes you by the throat from the offset and never loosens its grip.

Ultimately, Dãm is a much less well known band than the music it makes deserves. The band has toured in the past with big names like Decapitated, Gorerotted, Napalm Death, Testament, Entombed, Cathedral, Zyklon and Cephalic Carnage, and you’d think that all that exposure to Johnny Metalhead would result in a bigger profile for the band. Here’s hoping that particular wrong is righted once you’ve wrapped your ears around The Difference Engine.

Killing Songs :
Eyeballing, Made Of Beasts, A Wound That Never Heals
Goat quoted 86 / 100
2 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 8 replies to this review. Last one on Thu Feb 21, 2008 5:56 am
View and Post comments