If some new metal infused hard rock ‘n’ roll is on the agenda then checking out the debut album from Damn Dice would not be a bad move. Unleashing twelve tenacious slices of hard rock, a dozen slabs of fiery, adrenaline fuelled stomps, The Great Unknown easily suggests the London based rockers are a band to keep a close eye on. It starts with a bang, ends with another invigorating stretch of songs, and though for personal tastes its middle section ebbs and flows in persuasion a touch too much, the whole album leaves full enjoyment as its prime legacy.
Damn Dice began in 2011 and quickly made a potent impression and impact with a live presence which in no time had a UK and European tour supporting LA Guns on its CV. The next couple of years saw the band reinforce their strong emergence whilst luring increasing acclaim through impressing headline shows and the release of their Wild ‘N’ Ready EP in 2013. It soon had the likes of Classic Rock AOR, Powerplay, Black Velvet, and Music Week offering eager praise whilst the single/video from it, Take The Fight saw the band regulars on Scuzz TV and indeed radio. Now the band is ready to make a hefty nudge on broader attention with The Great Unknown, an encounter as rousing as it is skilfully crafted, as riotous as it is familiarly infectious.
Recently Damn Dice has grown to a quintet with the addition of Diego, but it is the foursome of vocalist Alex, guitarist Wallis, bassist Marco, and drummer Fransoa who has ears ringing with opener Power. From a controlled and sonically suggestive start, the track is soon living up to its name with a charge of bone splitting beats and hungry riffery. Aligned to the quickly impressing tones of Alex, he supported as strongly across the rest of the band, and featuring an already grouchy presence by the bass, band and song is soon a virulent anthemic temptation. Bands such as Skid Row, KISS, and Hardcore Superstar are suggested as references to the Damn Dice sound, and certainly essences of them and others are open hues in the character and energy of the song though it matters little within the rampant fun of the encounter.
The seriously enticing start to The Great Unknown continues with What Now? and its initial rhythmic coaxing which courtesy of the bass, borders bestial. Its growling is the spark to a great contrast of niggling hooks and infection spewing grooves with vocals and melodies just as magnetic in one of the band’s previous singles. It springs a web of addictive enticement and inventive enterprise though again there is something recognisable to the encounter which fair to say only add to its allure before Driven brings its antagonism lined classic hard rock resourcefulness to court ears. Not as immediate in its persuasion as the first two, the song eventually proves to be just as inescapable for body and voice, as too the following Down, both songs easy to lock on to anthems sure to inflame any hall or speaker over time. The fourth track has an even more old school colouring to its fresh romp but as enjoyable as it proves to be, it is from here that The Great Unknown struggles for a while to match its early prowess.
To be fair though with The Way To Go from a sizzling electro touch going on to offer a bouncing boisterous shuffle of riffs and rhythms whilst Caught In The Ride and Words uncage a snarling catchy canter and evocative flame of emotion respectively, satisfaction is left smiling and the body catching its breath in their wakes. The latter two songs also unveil a spicy sonic enterprise and melodic imagination which only lures ears before Bang Your Head hits the album’s earlier plateau again next, its full throttle charge equipped with commanding rhythms and rip-roaring riffs and enslaving vocals. Once more Damn Dice are not exactly tapping into the hard rock unknown but its weighty slavery of ears and thick tempting is unavoidable before it quickly moves over for the equally dramatic and incendiary rampage of No Fear. As a few songs on the album, its start is thrilling drama but whereas others at times never manage to live up to their entrance in the rest of their bodies, the song continues to build a theatre of craft and adventure, not forgetting an invigorating anthem that only leaves a hunger for more and more you get with the outstanding Take The Fight. Unafraid to throw in a dose of rock pop for its contagious chorus, it takes little time to see why the song raised such enthusiasm and focus when released previously, its potency just as fierce and forceful now.
The album is brought to a close by the sinew built, rhythm swinging Rock (Like You Mean It), a song which arguably feeds expectations a touch too much yet still grows to be a more flavoursome beast with every listen, and lastly the compelling croon and passion of the excellent Home, where musically and vocally Damn Dice just reinforce the diversity of their sound to give a last treat for ears.
The Great Unknown is nothing less than thorough enjoyment from start to finish with certain stretches where it really gets to grips with wants and tastes. Different songs will work for individual appetites but if hard rock and metal infused rock ‘n’ roll hits your sweet spot then Damn Dice and their album is well worthy of an hour of your time at the very least.
The Great Unknown is released August 24th through most stores.