The Damned – The Rockfield Files (EP Review)

Anyone who knows music can immediately recognize that The Damned are one of the coolest bands around. From their Punk Rock days of the late ’70s to becoming one of the very first Gothic Rock bands in the early ’80s, they are one of those acts that do not get nearly as much credit as they deserve.

Complete with a unique cast of characters – currently including original members, Lead Singer Dave Vanian and Guitarist Captain Sensible, along with Bassist Paul Gray, as well as Keyboardist Monty Oxymoron – The Damned  are back at it again with their latest EP, The Rockfield Files, on Friday, October 16, 2020 through Spinefarm Records.

Recorded in 2019 at the legendary Welsh studio Rockfield, The Damned find themselves returning to the same scene where a series of sessions took place four decades earlier. If you are unsure what that means, spelling it out, those sessions would become 1980’s The Black Album, 1981’s The Friday 13th EP, and 1982’s Strawberries. Finding themselves in familiar surroundings, they conjured up four brand new songs that should peak plenty of interest.

Their first recordings together since 2018’s beloved Evil Spirits LP, it is the last to include long time member Pinch on drums, but also the first to feature production from Tom Dalgety (Royal Blood, Rammstein, Ghost). These factors in mind, the EP immediately grabs your attention with the catchy single “Keep ‘Em Alive.” A song that is Gothic Rock meets Classic ’60s Rock, it also features a really cool music video shown from the perspective of a bee, because after all, these flying insects are vital to life. From here there is the Punk-driven “Manipulator,” seductive “The Spider The Fly,” and closer “Black Is The Night.” The latter is no doubt a massive highlight, featuring a retro sound that is akin to The Animals or Paul Revere & the Raiders. Trust us, you are going to love it.

All in all, The Rockfield Files is a splendid present from The Damned. Brief as it is, you cannot help but wonder if more recordings took place at Rockfield that could perhaps make up a future EP or even a new album. Only time will tell, but until then, Cryptic Rock gives The Rockfield Files 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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