Damnation: Churchburner, Insulter Of Jesus Christ.
Additional personnel: Mork (spoken vocals).
Not to be confused with a California punk band that is also called Damnation, the Damnation heard on Destructo Evangelia has been part of Sweden's metal underground since 1989 -- and underground is definitely an appropriate way to describe these obscure Nordic headbangers, who had spent 15 years in the trenches when they finally came out with their first official full-length album. That album is Destructo Evangelia, which favors a very raw, primitive mixture of thrash metal/speed metal and death metal/black metal. This 2004 release gives the impression that Damnation haven't changed much since their formation back in 1989; Destructo Evangelia has a strong late-'80s flavor and recalls a time when thrash was giving way to the death metal/black metal field -- a time when more and more headbangers were discovering the pleasures of mixing metal and punk. In fact, '80s influences abound on Destructo Evangelia -- influences ranging from Bathory, Napalm Death and Celtic Frost to Motrhead, Slayer, Venom and Megadeth. Destructo Evangelia have been described as a throwback to the earliest black metal, and the black metal element on this CD is definitely of the pre-Cradle of Filth, pre-Dimmu Borgir sort. Damnation's performances thrive on rawness -- that is true of their original material as well as covers of Bathory's "Armageddon" and Vulcano's "Bloody Vengeance" -- and they clearly identify with the primal spirit of old-school punk. For all its aggression and intensity, Destructo Evangelia isn't as extreme as a lot of the death metal, black metal, grindcore and metalcore that has come out in the '90s and 2000s. But even so, Destructo Evangelia packs a forceful punch -- and while the 40-minute disc falls short of exceptional, it's a decent, noteworthy effort that is recommended to fans of '80s-style thrash and early death metal/black metal. ~ Alex Henderson