Released by: Massacre Records
Release Date: Out Now!!!
Genre: Symphonic/Power Metal
William Graney – Guitars, Orchestration, Backing Vocals
Per Fredrik „Pelle K“ Asly – Vocals
John Graney – Drums
Stephen Averill – Bass
Dawn Trigg – Piano
1. Ad Finem
2. The Longest Day Of My Life
4. I Hope
5. Pt 1 – Acerbus Inceptum
6. Pt 2 – Someone Else
7. Pt 3 – Bringer Of Light
8. Pt 4 – Shadow Symphony
9. No Leaf Clover
10. Pride (The Warrior‘s Way)
Well, times have changed since I grew up listening to hard rock and (heavy) metal music. Back then, in the late 70’s and early 80’s, the musical climate was quite simple. As a music fan you either had the disco scene or the hard rock scene. Obviously, as a 14, 15 year old kid (yes, I’m bit old haha) I was completely hooked into hard rock and heavy metal, in fact the only two (main) genres in this kind of music. I listened to Rainbow, Iron Maiden etc. and to discover new bands and albums you read the appropriate magazine and went to the local library to see if any of the recommended LP’s were available for listening. In some odd case you got ‘something heavy’ on the radio and that was that.
Also life for musicians was simpler, it all started with the love for music and getting an record deal was the first step. After that they booked you for a tour and that’s how you got successful (or not). What a difference with the ‘youngsters’ of today. They’ve got the internet with crossmedia exposure (clearly more than just a paper magazine), they’ve got software (Pro Tools) and computers. Sometimes it all seems a bit more ‘programmed’ surely with the help of YouTube, Websites, TV shows etc.
This story is certainly appropriate for this young outfit from the UK. Damnation Angels: a symphonic metal band with a love for power metal, subgenres that even did not exist in the early days. However, I strongly believe that the roots for this kind of metal, clearly were planted by the already mentioned Rainbow (symphonic and classic influences ) and Iron Maiden (power metal, fast riffing and complex compositions).
And how did they find their singer ? Through a worldwide successful but overly commercial TV show seeking for talents, The X Factor.And how do they compose their material ? With the help of software and computers naturally. But cut this ‘crappy’ talk about the past and the present, let’s focus on the facts here.
Damnation Angels hails from the UK, a country you would not take into account for symphonic metal bands. As I already said, the (absolutely capable, norwegian) singer Per Frederik (‘Pelle K’) Asly, was more or less discovered in the Norwegian version of the X factor TV show. He only joined in recently to record the first full fledged album with the rest of the band. In 2009 they already recorded an EP ‘Shadow Symphony’ which led to extensive touring and some raving reviews as well. Their current debut album ‘Bringer Of Light’ was already released in march 2012 but only in Japan. Now it’s time for the rest of the world thanks to their multi album deal with Massacre Records.
Produced by Scott Atkins (Cradle of Filth) the four guys and one lady deliver a very, very promising debut I must say. The mastermind of the band, guitarist Will Graney, created an epic symphonic work by programming a complete orchestra, including brass and percussion, over which the rest of the band smoothly play their powerful music. In fact the cinematic, massive orchestral sound catapults you right into a film-score for a lost Lord of The Ring movie. This kind of ‘software-programming’ wasn’t possible in the early days of metal so it’s at least a new skill you can credit the younger generation of musicians for.
The complete album leans heavily on the orchestration but all the ‘real’ music (drums, guitar riffs and solo’s, keyboard parts and of course the vocals) goes perfectly on par with that (so no redundant solo’s) leaving a stellar impression on the listener. With ten tracks in absolute grandeur, excellent executed and drenched in a top notch sound, Damnation Angels are giving the genre a well needed boost stepping easily in the place of Kamelot, Nightwish and Epica, maybe surpassing them already in some aspects.
Best tracks are the opening and closing one’s. With the classic ‘overture-like’ Ad Finem and the following 10 minute epic ‘The Longest Day of My Life’ the band already sets a high standard. The next songs stay in the same quality range although I like some tracks more than others. Tracks 5 to 8 apparently form a mini-suite with some re-arranged (?) tracks from their EP. Track 9 is a surprise as it as a very fine rendition of Metallica’s No Leaf Clover.
My absolute favorite is the closing composition ‘Pride (The Warrior’s Way)’, a stunning piece with Japanese folk music and the sound of fighting Samurai’s incorporated in the in- and outtro. One of the best songs I heard in the genre.
Are they redefining symphonic metal ? Will they be able to reach the same level (or maybe higher ?) on their next effort ? Time will tell but for now, hats off for their debut. Maybe one of the best in 2013 ? And oh yes…..finally some compliments for the amazing artwork by Jan Yrland as well.
Written by Ruud
Ratings Ruud 9/10
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