Dangerface - Be Damned! (Cover Artwork)


Be Damned! (2023)

Fysisk Format

Cards on the table time. I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this, the follow-up to 2019’s Get Loud!By Dangerface for some time. The debut was my third favourite record of that year and I also think it’s aged incredibly well in the intervening period. For the uninitiated, Dangerface, hailing from Stavanger, Norway, create a raucous, good-time fusion of rock ‘n’ roll and Scandi punk. Even a dose of hardcore at times. They’re Ghost of a Thousand played through an ETID-shaped filter, but most importantly they had huge songs and delivered them with an utterly infectious, fizzing energy that rarely dipped. Four years later, we have the band’s second full-length. A record that in my eyes, has a lot to live up to.

There is no question that the record starts well; and with the same wild-eyed energy that I fell for in the debut. “The Lord Hates a Quitter” flies out of the gate like a nitrous-fuelled, rabid whippet. A shamelessly sleaze-laden guitar riff opens the song and by the time the vocals turn up, you could have seen my grin from space. It’s also hard not to start moving when the ‘I’m drownin’ in the deep end’ hook with it’s Liam Gallagher intonation from recent single “Pardon My Douche” kicks in. There’s even the single note piano motif that appears to similarly brilliant effect in the debut record. These things just make me happy and I’m not willing to pretend they don’t.

The thing that I didn’t necessarily know I wanted, (but having now spent a lot of time with this record) is the subtle pivot that the band have made in their sound. Without leaving any of the classic rock guitar lines or flourishes, without Michael changing his trademark bellowed flow and without losing a single inch of pace, Dangerface are a little more latter-day The Bronx than they are early-days-ETID. There will be some people who (especially given the absence of ETID in 2023) are not necessarily in favour of that shift, but the more rolling, propulsive song structures suit the band immaculately. “It Takes Guts To Be An Organ Donor” displays this in the most thrilling way possible. In another band’s hands it could potentially miss the mark, but because of Dangerface’s ability to draw consistently from a never-ending well of energy and excitement, it just delights and energises throughout. And that’s true of the record in general, to my ears.

It’s only right and proper to highlight the band’s performances as well. Jan and Christian’s guitar efforts are rarely anything except absolute dynamite, while Mikael and Steinar (on bass and drums respectively) do a superb job in anchoring what is often a chaotic runaway train of a racket. An interesting aspect to Dangerface’s sound and one that you might not expect from a band as I’ve described them, is that it also benefits from a very balanced production job. It’s hefty and very rock’n’roll focused, but it’s also quite modern in places. Nowhere near enough to make me concerned I feel I should stress, but enough that it shows these guys want to keep moving forward and hopefully some of those production choices will help this find a wider audience.

Because that’s what I’m hear to say, really. Dangerface are a fucking brilliant band. They’re part of a rich Scandinavian lineage of punk bands who keep fun and a sense of humour at the very core of what they’re doing and when the world is as fucked up as it is right now, then this could scarcely be more well-timed a release. Put it on. Jump around. Bang your head. Enjoy it.