Damascus is a four piece instrumental post-metal / rock band from New Jersey. ‘Of Whom I Always Think’ is the band’s first EP and second overall release.
It’s no secret, post-metal seems to have died / been dying out in terms of prominent bands sticking around. Post-metal forefather’s Neurosis seem to be on an indefinite hiatus since their 2007 album, ‘Given to the Rising’, ISIS split in 2010 not long after the release of Wavering Radiant, and other respectable bands associated with the genre such as Rosetta seem to be moving in a different direction. Many of the releases to come out of once promising ‘post-metal’ musicians have been static when compared to previous releases. In other words there hasn’t been anything current that has struck me as groundbreaking or original. Even the sound and song structure itself, the building crescendos and quiet / loud dynamics of post-rock; a structure that once made the genre unique, that separated a group of bands and musicians moving away from the original stylings that contemporary rock music had established has been transformed into a template for other bands to follow.
The sound of this EP is pretty much what you would come to expect from any instrumental post-metal / rock band; reverb and delay drenched guitars, glacial song structures, and clean breaks. However, their are times where, throughout each song Damascus’ musicianship really shines through providing a few truly jaw-dropping moments, all of which proved capable of overshadowing some of the EP’s shortcomings in terms of originality. Take for instance the second track, ‘Schematics’, which features a sudden burst of complex guitar playing that is evocative of a Russian Circles song, which I found refreshing in a genre dominated mostly by thick and exposed chords.
The content on ‘Of Whom I Always Think’ is not particularly bad, quite the opposite but where Damascus struggles, along with many bands who hopped on the post-metal train after it’s peak, is to find a niche of its own, a place that separates their sound from the rest of the musicians who have been placed into the same genre. It is apparent that these guys boast a lot of skill seeing as the musicianship is nearly flawless and the sound quality is pretty spot on but Damascus and the entirety of the post-metal genre as of recent has struggled to do anything truly unique as far as I see. Fingers crossed for a more realized release sometime soon.
Overall Rating: 7.2
Favorite Track: ‘Schematics’
Recommended: For fans of Russian Circles and other instrumental bands of the genre.