Georgia's Damned to Earth started out life as Forest Evil but after parting ways with their original singer and a quick reshuffle of their line up they decided it was time for a name change, especially as their music with this refreshed and pared down line-up was leaning more and more towards a southern dynamic. Having said that Damned to Earth are not what you would call your archetypical "southern" band, their grooves are a heavy mix of sludge and stoner metal but there is no mistaking that "southern" twang that permeates every riff, rhythm and vocal inflection on the five songs that make up the bands self-titled debut album "Damned to Earth".
If the opening guitar salvo of "Down In The Basement" doesn't grab you by the throat and keep you hanging around until the last notes of the excellent final song "Toe Licker" fade into the ether then you really should be consulting an ear specialist (or checking your pulse) as this is a collection of essential southern fried metal you really don't want to let pass you by. Everything you could possibly ask of from a band plying their trade in the field of heavy music is contained within this album, soaring bluesy guitar solos ,thick crunching distorted riffs, low growling bass motifs, swinging percussion and throaty soulful livid -in vocals are all delivered here with the type of gusto, passion and verve you may have come to expect from an established band releasing their third or fourth album but not from a relatively new combo presenting to the world what is technically their first. Intensity is an important element in rock music of any genre but that intensity can often fade or wane over the length of a full album however Damned to Earth never let you catch your breath for a nanosecond powering through songs like the aforementioned "Down In The Basement", "Eye of the Storm", "Coil of the Snake" and "Stone Magnet" like their lives depended on it, maintaining the same levels of intensity and attack they brought to your ears with their first song right through to their last one.
There will be some who will say that Damned to Earth are not a new band, having been birthed from the members of a previous band minus their original vocalist, and that to class their self titled new album as a "debut" is pushing things a little to far, but then take a moment to check out their work under the banner of Forest Evil and compare it to the music on "Damned to Earth" and you will notice a whole different dynamic, where Forest Evil's sludgy doom tended to lumber and plod Damned to Earth's southern tinted grooves have a swagger and strut that is just as heavy but far more satisfying and vital.
Check 'em out ....
© Frazer Jones 2021