Monday, December 31, 2012

Yarrr!! Here there be Metal!

Dammaj – Mutiny

Par Records, Roadrunner Records – 1986

Muthas, there are some bands that release one killer LP or EP, and then fade away into obscurity without ever being heard from again.  Some prime examples of this are Witchkiller, Taist of Iron, Dark Age, Saigon, and Wizz. The best band to only release one LP is definitely Dammaj with their 1986 classic, MutinyDammaj was a California five piece who played tough as nails U.S. power metal which was loaded with a crushing bottom-end, ripping guitars and the excellent vocals of Greg Hill. Something unique about the band was that the guitarists and bassist were all brothers, and that helped make them tight as all hell.  The brothers really lock down on a groove or riff and exploit it to its fullest. 

One other reason why this album is an all time favorite of The Metal Blog of Metal is the absolutely molten mix.  If one didn’t know better, you would think this was an Ebony Records release because the drums sound like 75mm pack howitzers, the bass is pounding up front, and the guitars sound like buzzing ripsaws.  Fucking amazing! The engineer on the album was none other than Jim Morris of the famous Morrisound Studios in Tampa.  Morris and producer Dan Johnson did a hell of a job honing this album to razor sharpness!

 Mutiny was originally released on Par Records in the U.S. and Roadrunner in Europe, but the album was only on vinyl and never made it to a CD issue.  Unfortunately, the platter was very difficult to find and, as a result, was all but forgotten by the world except for a few diehard metalheads. There have been CD bootlegs of the album floating around for years, but the sound wasn’t the greatest and the booklet was a joke. 

Luckily, Skol Records has remastered and re-released Mutiny with five bonus tracks, complete lyrics and a booklet stuffed with photos. In addition to Skol Records, Blood and Iron Records has released the album on vinyl with four bonus tracks and a poster.  Hell yes!  It’s about damn time Dammaj get the recognition they so richly deserve.

Mutiny features grinding guitars, a crushing bass, pounding drums, and the Rhett Forrester-like vocals of Greg Hill.  In fact, Dammaj clearly knew how to mine the same rich ore that Riot used to craft their potent brand of Metal.  The band serves up the galloping “Leather Master,” the titanic title cut “Mutiny,” and the epic “Gladiator.”  Frankly, all the tracks are phenomenal, being both hooky and heavy, which is something many Metal bands can’t pull off without slipping into complete shit. Check out this fan made video for the title track below:

As longtime readers of The Metal Blog of Metal will know, we here are fans of not just the music on an album but the album artwork as well.  Mutiny features a pre-irony age doozy of an album cover with a pirate hanging from some rigging clutching a guitar.  Not just any old guitar, but a guitar that is either being struck by lightning, or shooting lightning up to Valhalla.  Either way, Thor would be thrilled because that shit is Metal as fuck. When yours truly got this album way back in ’86, I thought Dammaj was a Florida band because of the pirate, the Morrisound production and being on Par records like Floridian labelmates Savatage.  Pirate trickery knows no bounds!

You can order Mutiny from Shadow Kingdom Records, or directly from the band through their Facebook page. 

The Bottom Line:  Mutiny is an amazing piece of classic U.S. Power Metal and deserves a place in every self-respecting Metalheads' collection.  Buy this immediately, and if you are lucky enough to be out on the west coast, catch Dammaj live as they are playing shows again!  

As always, MAKE MINE METAL!          

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