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Review: Warmath - Damnation Play
Damnation Play

Label: Lipposen Levy Ja Kasetti
Year released: 2021
Originally released in: 1991
Duration: 39:05
Tracks: 9
Genre: Power Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: May 10, 2021
Reviewed by: Luxi Lahtinen
Readers Rating
Damnation Play

Rated 4.25/5 (85%) (4 Votes)

It's hard to imagine that it's been 30 years since Warmath released their one and only full-length, Damnation Play, especially if you're like most people outside of myself and never heard of them until now. They never really got much notoriety outside of their hometown of Kuopio, partly due to poor promotion, but mostly because they worked in a style that wasn't very popular at the time. Unsurprisingly, this led to the band dissolving shortly after, with a reformation in 2015 that was pretty quiet and lacking in any indication that they'll be making any new material, especially considering the tragic loss bassist Marko 'Kuvis' Kuvaja back in 2019. Thankfully, they recently got production guru Mika Jussila to give the album a proper remastering treatment, which was reissued by Lipposen Levy Ja Kasetti, a small record label run by Jyri Lipponen.

Warmath worked in an oddball brand of Power/Speed Metal that incorporated elements of Thrash and Progressive Metal. You could make comparisons to bands like Stone, Helstar, and maybe Nevermore if you don't count the fact Warmath predates them, but really, this band had a sound all their own, which was predicated on tight musicianship, dramatic songwriting, and the diverse vocal acrobatics of Jouni Markkanen. While every song on here is quality, the real standout is "The Fifth Season", which is a powerful epic that'd be worthy of their legendary countrymates Tarot. Frankly, the only complaint I have is that I think that the label and the band should have included the even harder to find EP Gehenna with the package, but what can you do?

I have to say, no matter how much I listen to this album, I always find myself surprised with how good it all really is. While it's easy to see why Damnation Play didn't appeal to Finnish audiences back when it was released, it's equally easy to see why this lost gem of an album was given its just dues decades after it was released. A lost historical relic that was well worth digging up.

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