DAMAGE S.F.P – Damage S.F.P

DAMAGE S.F.P – Damage S.F.P

Veteran Finnish thrash metallers finally get a chance to release their debut album after 30 (!) years of existence, with a fairly unique blend of Testament/Exodus/Death Angel riffery and classic Megadeth/Anthrax leads, but their songwriting is too inconsistent for such a long standing outfit.

Damage S.F.P album is a bit of a mess. The band, featuring Jarkkoa "Jaake" Nikkilä (vocals/guitar), Antti Remes (bass), Tero Lipsonen (drums), had 30 years to hone in their skills, which they have done through 4 demos (1992, 1993, 1994, 1996) before finally securing a record deal with Rockshots Records. The result is expertly executed thrash metal delivered with a devil-may-care vocal stylings similar to Tomasz "Titus" Pukacki’s of Polish thrashers Acid Drinkers. Most of the material is heavily dry Testament/Exodus/Death Angel riff verses, admittedly fabulous technically, but hardly appealing to anyone but a thrash fanatic, while they attempt to spice it up with Megadeth/Anthrax leads which are so austere they seem almost accidental. Had this been the idea consistent throughout the entire album I would have given it a 3/6, 3.5/6, tops. But it isn’t.

Just when you think these guys can’t write a decent catchy and consistently melodic tune, they usher in the gorgeous all-acoustic instrumental "Insomnium" (any reference to the Finnish melodeathsters?) and then, interestingly, "Ode To Sorrow" is a classic early In Flames which would not have been out of place on "Lunar Space" or "The Jester Race". With your mouth agape, you’ll take in "Tragedy" straight from Metallica’s "Kill ‘Em All/Ride The Lightening" era before you get a load of classic Sentenced melodicism with "Crying For Relief" (complete with Ville Laihiala-like vocalization), but they saved the best for last with classic Iron Maiden/90s Megadeth immersion of "In Termination", after which even the more standard closer "Burst Of Rage" seems more advanced and intricate than it really is. The listener is left with an impression as if Damage S.F.P were merely rehearsing for the first 4 tracks. Then again, this is a debut album, even if after 30 years of existence.

On one hand, I feel for these guys. It must be frustrating to shoot blank demo hoops for 30 years to the extent that when you finally score you just throw it out there to see if it sticks and the cracks clearly show through the fabric. On the other hand, why majority of this, some of the best sounding thrash in recent memory, is bereft of choruses and some even hooks is anyone’s guess, because, as disorderly and inconsistent as it is, it shows tremendous potential which I hope they will not let go to waste.