Back in 2018, Buffalo, New York’s DAMAGES crept into the world to bring us some melodic death metal with a modern spin. This isn’t to say that they’re doing the ever popular metalcore sound of the 2020s and combining it with MDM, but more so, they are bending and breaking the original rules of the MDM genre set by the Gothenburg, SWE forefathers to make it their own. The band already has a few killer releases up on Bandcamp by the names of Altar (EP) and “Only Hope” (single). Their new album, Simulacrum is to be released sometime within the next few months. Unfortunately, we were unable to secure the final master of this album in time to give a proper review, but we were still fortunate enough to sit down with vocalist Lauren Wishnie for the second time this year. She was more than happy to answer a few questions about where the band is heading. You can find our previous interview with Lauren in our JUNE 2021 issue of THE METAL WEBZINE, by visiting linktr.ee/wretchedsound.
1. Thinking back over your entire discography, what specific improvements do you feel you guys have made to your sound with the release of Simulacrum?
We think it’s definitely more concise and refined than Altar, which was written and recorded across two lineups. By contrast, Simulacrum was written and recorded by the same lineup (Dan, Eric, Krys, Geoff, and myself) from beginning to end. So there’s more continuity between the songs and the unique style of each member has a nice through line.
We also drew a lot more from our more old-school influences, like 90’s thrash and death metal, so we’re not trying to sound super clean and modern. It’s supposed to sound a little grittier than Altar and we hope that comes through in a positive way (i.e., aggressive as fuck).
2. Damages just went through a few lineup changes. I know Mak is on bass now. How has the transition been?
Makenzi had very little time to learn our set before our first show, but she stepped up and killed it! We are really thankful to have met Makenzi. She fits in well with us and we get along great. We’re so glad we met her & we’re excited to see her grow as an artist!
3. Do you have any personal favorites from the new album?
My personal favorites are “No Harvest” and “Slaughter.” I’m really proud of the lyrics for both, and they absolutely slap. “No Harvest” is dark and moody. Everything about the song just reminds me of a long, cold, silent winter, and I wanted that to be reflected in the lyrics as well. “Slaughter” is a face-melting banger–short and intense and gives you one last burst of tasty riffage before the album ends.
4. Are there any techniques you’ve been working on lately to challenge yourself musically?
I have been working hard on my clean vocals, which I know I said in our last chat would show up on our new EP… but I ended up going even harsher this time, LOL.
More than anything, I’ve been trying to keep myself healthy and fit. I’m lazy and haven’t really been practicing any specific techniques. I’m focusing on eating enough, drinking enough water, and making sure to move my body so that I can maintain my voice.
I would like to learn how to pig squeal, so maybe I’ll work on that.
5. What inspires you the most to write lyrics?
Oh, so many things. If you read my lyrics you’ll pick up on the vibe that I might be a very angry person. I’m set ablaze by the injustice perpetrated every day in this world: white supremacy, colonialism, transphobia, ableism, misogyny, our fucked up food system, and the list goes on. Our capitalist & colonialist systems uphold it all. We are to these systems of oppression like fish are to water–it’s all we know, that’s how thoroughly we’ve been propagandized. This sounds scary, because it is! I feel I need to speak about these things, because they are a matter of life and death.
These things are, of course, not all that inspire me to write. I write lyrics about falling in love, about death and grief, about change. And “Omens” on the new record is about being afraid of mirrors because a monster might pull you inside and eat you. So I guess you could say I have range?