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DAMASCUS- Open your Eyes 12″EP (selfproduced, UK, 1984)

What better way of saying thank you for the donations could there be, than posting another fine product of the mighty NWOBHM?

Merseyside’s DAMASCUS one and only release (apart from a hard to find demo tape – please get in touch, if you happen to have a good sounding copy of it!) was this extremely scarce 12″, released in 1984 in two pressings of 500 each (depicted is the 2nd press. I’ve never seen a first press copy. If you have one, you must give it to me!). The great scarcity of the EP and the short time existence of DAMASCUS made them one of the NWOBHM’s best kept secrets. And definitely not a cult band (how I hate that term, btw). Isn’t the cover of this alone worth a trillion?

Whenever I play these four track monster, I can hardly believe this band should really fall into oblivion. The material presented here is just too great! Rocking out four melodic and incredibly catchy, tuneful tracks, DAMASCUS produced at least two archetypical songs of the genre as it was already about to crumble apart: “Open your Eyes” and “Something on my Mind”. The vocal lines are to be heard to be believed and the guitar and bass lines make me wanna hug the guys in eternal thankfulness for such unpretentious glory! So much atmosphere, such beauty in music was soon to be driven out of Heavy Metal upon the time this EP was released and the 70s ended once and for all; Thrash and Speed bands were taking over and sure, these were exciting times and in 1984, I could hardly listen to a band like DAMASCUS anymore, so dated they sounded within months. But as you grow older, your horizon broadens (hopefully) and at least in my case, I’m now hearing the qualities of bands such as DAMASCUS clearer than I did when the record was still fresh.
“Cold Horizon” is a tricky, quiet little song, a masterpiece again and the closing “Midnight Train” is exactly what you’ll listen to on your iPod, the next time you’re on a train trip, I guarantee. I’d guess younger folks in most cases won’t get the whatabouts of such music, but I simply can not imagine anybody from the old days Metal Militia of Losers from all over the Planet (MMOLFAOTP) wouldn’t get goosebumbs over the melancholy of a song like “Open your Eyes” or “Something on my Mind”.

Enjoy this pearl! I would like to dedicate this especially to all the hellhounds and earthdogs, rivetheads and mongobumsers of the old days who are still around in one form or another.

Open your Eyes.mp3
Something on my Mind.mp3
Cold Horizon.mp3
Midnight Train.mp3

30 Comments

  1. Nigel

    Been on the lookout for this one for ages. What a great surprise! Very curious to hear the songs but I always have to burn them onto a cdr first (my computer has no working speakers). Great post!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Sep-08 at 09:54 | Permalink
  2. timmy

    i want my money back…kidding.
    keep up the awesome work!!!

    timmy

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Sep-08 at 10:27 | Permalink
  3. Jamie

    AWESOME! The vocalist is superb!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Sep-08 at 10:31 | Permalink
  4. What's the truth?

    Wow, the intro on “Open Your Eyes” sounds like the intro to some soul or American gospel tune…really memorable vocals. Excellent stuff. Thanks!

    As a younger listener, I can say that most of my peers are interested solely in the more extreme forms of metal, which I enjoy as well, but sometimes I’m in the mood for NWOBHM and nothing else…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Sep-08 at 20:49 | Permalink
  5. Heavy Metal Mania

    Can’t believe I found this here! Extremely hard to find record and one of the best of the NWOBHM. Saw the boys opening for Raven or Jaguar in 83 or 84.

    Love your blog and the knowledge behind it. From furious thrash to this and all comes straight from the heart.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Sep-08 at 15:01 | Permalink
  6. Rick

    What a great record! Never heard of this one before. Great work you’re doing here, putting other blogs to shame (or people like those from Vibrations of Doom who sell bootleg CDRs in shit quality). Your rips are by far the best out there and the writing is so instructive.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Sep-08 at 03:28 | Permalink
  7. Steve

    I concur with Rick your rips are the best! I’m looking forward to hearing this completely since it will take me a while to download due to my pitiful dial-up connection. I’ll get back to you in a month or 2. Hehe.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Sep-08 at 04:32 | Permalink
  8. This should be great, will listen later but now I pretty much only listen to Sodom to remember the great Witchhunter.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Sep-08 at 11:17 | Permalink
  9. Read about Witchhunter’s death on True Punk and Metal. We’re getting old …..

    [Reply]

    Posted on 10-Sep-08 at 11:37 | Permalink
  10. Now I´ve listen to this and this is truely great, the state of heavt metal was bad in 84, even though I didn´t understand that at the time beeing just 13 years old, but this masterpiece proves med wrong and should easily be in the top 5 of metal records of that year if i Made a list. Many thanks!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-Sep-08 at 20:46 | Permalink
  11. and speaking of 84, yesterday I read an interveiw with James Hetfield in DN, swedens biggest morning paper, and he had a Welcome to Hell shirt on. I wonder if thats he´s way of trying to say “we have an old sound on this new record” or if he says “I like Venom”?

    [Reply]

    Posted on 14-Sep-08 at 20:55 | Permalink
  12. Jay Thurston

    For a minute there, I thought I was listening to Styx. As most of you know, I am not a fan of talking negative about shitty bands, so I won’t say any more. Par…Venom fucking rules!!!!!!!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Sep-08 at 19:27 | Permalink
  13. Quitty

    Still around from the old days? That’s me! Thanks for all the great work!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 17-Sep-08 at 19:53 | Permalink
  14. Steve

    Well after having finally downloaded this I can honestly say that it is a cool rocking heavy metal record!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 24-Sep-08 at 15:28 | Permalink
  15. Billy Downs

    Cant believe after all these years someone is still listening to our stuff. I have changed a bit since the front of the record but i’m still a rocker at heart – keep rockin and laughin’ Billy – Lead Singer, Damascus.

    [Reply]

    Mario Corbella Reply:

    Hello Billy!
    I know some guys of a record label who’d like to reissue Damascus stuff, please contact me at famcorby@libero.it

    Keep rockin’!!

    [Reply]

    Fiona Nicholson Reply:

    Billy Downs OMG! you must be an OAP now! as am in my 40′s ++ I did a few gigs with you “FIONA” ha! I was a dancer, and danced to women in black, those were the days Billy xxx

    [Reply]

    billy downs Reply:

    HELLO DARLIN……..YOU WOULD DRIVE THEM MAD WITH WOMEN IN BLACK TODAY………..I AM 52 NOT REALLY AN OAP BUT STILL DOIN 12 K A YEAR ON MY HONDA VALKYRIE…..LIFE IS STILL A laugh and i hope you are really happy from the man at the front………….billy

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Jun-09 at 12:25 | Permalink
  16. Oi Billy – it’s a great pleasure seeing you here. I think I’ve already put everything I could say into words about my feelings towards your EP. And I happen to know that quite a few people really got into it as well after hearing it here, which I hope will give you guys something back for the great music you’ve given us.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 16-Jun-09 at 12:36 | Permalink
  17. Andreas

    Hey guys. Damascus ep is one of my favorite recordings from british ground.ots of emotion in those songs..
    Billy Downs i loved your voice.Please communicate if u see this.
    Cheers

    [Reply]

    Posted on 19-Jul-09 at 18:30 | Permalink
  18. Bruce

    Hi, a copy of this turned up in a lot of records I bought today. Record is in VG+/NM, sleeve VG (some ringwear, bent BRH corner). Any idea on how to discern if its 1st or 2nd press? Very little info on web…

    Bruce.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 12-Aug-09 at 00:03 | Permalink
  19. Bruce

    Ok, think I have a 1st press:

    from http://www.collectorscum.com/justin/trade.html
    “Damascus – Open Your Eyes 12″ 1981 UK (NM/NM, near perfect copy, unplayed to my knowledge, rare NWOBHM, 2nd press with same design on both sides of cover plus an insert, the insert is a different design than the only one I see pictured on popsike)”

    My copy has the green eyeless face on front, back is same as insert (3rd picture above). Admin get on to me if you want this else its e-bound.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Aug-09 at 16:35 | Permalink
  20. Andreas

    Bruce can u contact me about the lp?
    Also whenever Billy Downs see my message,pls communicate with me.
    Keep up the good work in this blog!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 27-Aug-09 at 03:10 | Permalink
  21. Bruce

    Andreas, get on to me at brucemoran@hotmail.com, hope this doesnt contravene blog rules/good etiquette.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 09-Sep-09 at 21:38 | Permalink
  22. Lins

    Very Cool !!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 13-Nov-09 at 02:39 | Permalink
  23. Phil "the roadie"

    Hells teeth, I lugged Damascus’ kit up and down some stairs in some pretty crappy places in the mid 80′s. I think I still have half a dozen copies of this EP in my loft, in perfect condition having never seen a stylus.

    When I eventually get back from Afghanistan, I’ll be sure to dig them out again. Great to have these tracks on my IPod over here.

    [Reply]

    Andreas Reply:

    Did u return from Afghanistan ?hehe

    [Reply]

    Posted on 25-Nov-09 at 18:05 | Permalink
  24. Dave

    Billy Downs, not a bad joiner but a little unlucky with his mitres.
    best wishes Billy our saws are workin on memory!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 21-May-10 at 14:00 | Permalink
  25. I have a first pressing copy of the Damascus EP. The bass player Mike worked with me and has stayed in touch since so I know him well. In what sense do you think the first press would be any better than a second? Cheers…

    [Reply]

    Posted on 01-Apr-11 at 10:50 | Permalink
  26. mike booth

    Hi, I am mike the bass player. Thanks for all the positive comments. I am pleased to be able to tell you that High Roller Records in Germany are releasing all 9 of the studio tracks recorded by the original line up of the band using tapes supplied by us. This will be available on vinyl LP and CD around March 2012. There is a load of photos and band info included too.

    [Reply]

    Admin Reply:

    Hi Mike – that’s good to hear! Looking forward to the re-release! Best wishes and thank you for the great songs!

    [Reply]

    Posted on 18-Feb-12 at 21:13 | Permalink
  27. Reissue out now on High Roller Records. Buy it, it’s great! And the liner notes teach us that the depicted version here is indeed the first version (press of 1’000, two different sleeves).

    [Reply]

    Posted on 08-Mar-12 at 07:41 | Permalink
  28. DAVID HUGHES

    i have a white label 12″ copy somewhere in the house of this fine ep which i got off the manager who i worked with for a while as i young 17 years old metalhead

    [Reply]

    Posted on 31-Oct-12 at 14:30 | Permalink
  29. Gary Ward

    I can`t believe I`ve just stumbled across this.
    I gave them their first live review in Sounds ; Cherry Tree Runcorn I seem to remember.
    I`ve still got a couple of copies given to me by their manager Howard . I was convinced that they were going to be massive and I still love the EP.
    I think I now own their guitarists Gibson RD Artist.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 11-Jun-13 at 03:27 | Permalink
  30. mike booth

    Hi to anyone reading this page. Just wanted to mention that the original Damascus line up (which played on the EP and the Highroller LP / CD) are performing at Brofest 2014 in Newcastle on March 1st.

    [Reply]

    Posted on 23-Jan-14 at 13:59 | Permalink

2 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] deluxe (b-league) NWOBHM scorcher. Imagine the same band with a top-notch singer – it would be DAMASCUS! But take PARALEX’s EP as it is and you have another fine example of what this blog’s [...]

  2. [...] number which itself is as good as it gets for this kind of music and reminds me heavily of DAMASCUS. Bluesy vocals and epic Metal – that’s the way to go! When a band has such a wide range [...]

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