The Damned - Darkadelic album art

The Damned – Darkadelic (Album Review)

The Damned band 2023

With a history that dates back to 1976, The Damned are one of England’s most influential bands. Initially a Punk Rock act, songs like 77’s “Neat Neat Neat” are forever engraved in the fabric of the scene, but it really was just the beginning of The Damned’s journey. Almost seizing to exist following the release of Music for Pleasure (their sophomore album also released in 1977), by the time 1980 arrived the band showed even more growth when releasing The Black. At this point showcasing much more Gothic Rock and even Psychedelic tones, since that time, The Damned have arguably paved the way for the sub-genre known as Gothic Rock. Influencing countless other artists and setting the standard in many ways for Gothic subculture, The Damned have survived the ages.

Now forty plus years later, The Damned continue along with plenty more to offer. Continuously releasing new music, most recently there was 2018’s full-length Evil Spirits, 2020’s EP The Rockfield Files, plus 2022’s live record, A Night of a Thousand Vampires: Live in London. Also partaking in their share of touring, 2023 sees them return with their twelfth overall studio album, Darkadelic.

Featuring a lineup of classic members such as Vocalist Dave Vanian, Guitarist/Vocalist Captain Sensible, plus Bassist Paul Gray, joining them are long-time Keyboardist Monty Oxymoron, as well as William Granville-Taylor on drums. Released back on April 28th through earMUSIC, the new album was led by singles such as “The Invisible Man,” “Beware of the Clown,” and “You’re Gonna Realise.” All lively, and very much The Damned, Darkadelic has done exceptionally well as a complete set; topping charts in the UK, Scotland, Germany, and even the USA.

Impressive, it is really a testament to The Damned, their legacy, and songwriting. That considered, the 12-tracks that make up Darkadelic give plenty you to stink your fangs into. First off, Vanian’s voice is still as distinct as any, the guitar riffs are as well-crafted and catchy as ever, and the atmosphere is as thick as a cold, foggy morning in England. Possessing a very retro ‘70s sound, the tone is spot on, tempo is well-paced, and the lyrics are very strong.

A combination of all these elements, songs like the single “The Invisible Man,” the politically charged “Beware the Clowns,” along with the haunting “Wake the Dead,” “Follow Me” (which draws attention to the absurdity of influencers in the internet world), and the heavy rocker “Motorcycle Man” are just a few bold points. This is while the more Punk Rock “Girl I’ll Stop at Nothing” hooks you in, “From Your Lips” seduces you with Gothic romance, and “Western Promise” takes you on a very trippy journey into sound.

All matters taken into consideration, Darkadelic really needs to be experienced as a collective piece; because the mood is one that requires full attention. When you do just that you will see The Damned are still insightful in their observations of the world we live in, seeing right through much of the hypocrisy. That is why Darkadelic is an essential The Damned album, and the reason Cryptic Rock gives it 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

The Damned - Darkadelic album artwork
The Damned – Darkadelic / earMUSIC (2023)

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