Black is the Night Album Cover from The Damned

Album Review: The Damned

The Damned—Black Is The Night

The Damned on Selective Memory

Links: Official Site

Hey man, what’s happening? It’s a new album by The Damned, that’s wott! It’s not really “new” per se. Black Is The Night is a definitive anthology that features over two hours of The Damned material that spans their career, beginning with Damned Damned Damned and ending with Evil Spirits.

The Damned is notorious for releasing one live album after another from Live at Shepperton to Final Damnation to making a joke out of their obsession with live releases on Another Live Album from The Damned. Yet, compilation albums outweigh their live ventures, releasing singles to rarities to radio sessions to boxed sets and so on. This group is consistently actively re-organizing their musical possessions into some kind of concoction for fans to suck up.

What makes Black Is The Night different is that it not just plucks out “Standing on the Edge of Tomorrow” from Evil Spirits but it adds the rare “Fun Factory” with Robert Fripp and a new song that serves as the title track. It gives a nod to Dave Vanian’s constant need to keep pushing forward even 43 years later.

Instead of starting from the beginning and creating a progessive list throughout their career, they speckle songs back and forth from albums like Machine Gun Etiquette, Strawberries, and The Black Album, amongst others. Although the band has contorted from raging punks to dark alley goths they also rob the graves of psychedelic cynicism, covering songs like “Along Again, Or” or “White Rabbit” and their original “Bad Time For Bonzo” that fuzes punk with Rolling Stones’s Their Satanic Majesties Request-era guitar psych swirl.

Nothing is sacred to this band. Be it culture, religion, politics, or human nature Black Is The Night is a great snapshot of a band who has brilliantly challenged the status quo through their own individuality. Like haunting airwaves that pulsate through the night sky, The Damned’s music constantly gets recycled. The player piano sounds of “Melody Lee’s” intro, the screaming howls of “Neat Neat Neat,” the electroshock guitar treatment on “Rabid (Over You):” these are all a part of punk rock history. Despite our music streaming culture, Black Is The Night is an essential playlist that contains some of the most important songs in rock and roll by one of the most important bands in punk rock.

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