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Damnation Angels - "Bringer Of Light" (CD)

Damnation Angels - "Bringer Of Light" CD cover image

"Bringer Of Light" track listing:

1. Ad Finem
2. The Longest Day of My Life
3. Reborn
4. I Hope
5. Acerbus Inceptum
6. Someone Else
7. Bringer of Light
8. Shadow Symphony
9. No Leaf Clover
10. Pride (The Warrior's Way)

Reviewed by on August 21, 2013

"Within just the span of a few years, Damnation Angels has landed on a target frequently aimed at in this new power metal climate but hit by few: depth in largeness."

The modern trend toward making everything bigger and more bombastic has led to a one-upsmanship that has, for the most part, benefited production standards and musical composition alike within the genre of power metal. More bands are choosing to go the route of involving a symphony in the making of their album, or at least opting for less traditional and more classical synthesizer sounds. The scope of the mix, the size of the aural field in a recording, has also increased on the average. Within just the span of a few years, Damnation Angels has landed on a target frequently aimed at in this new power metal climate but hit by few: depth in largeness.

Going the symphonic route carries no small degree of criticism and standards. With the increasing standards comes higher budgets for albums, with recent efforts by bands such as Nightwish involving one of the highest budgets in heavy metal history. The mark of professionalism, however, is not just the attention paid to the most intense and energetic parts of the music, but also to the delicate lows. In a genre that's not known for its subtlety, the mates of Damnation Angels have succeeded in creating a dramatic balance of dynamics.

"Ad Finem" begins the album instrumentally with a build-up into "The Longest Day of My Life." The lyrical story of this number is compelling in that each line reveals just as much as it conceals from the listener, all the while highlighting the emotions of the protagonist. Clocking in at exactly ten minutes, vocalist PelleK passionately moves the listener through what seems like years in the lyrical story, as if the protagonist were detailing multiple "longest days" in his or her life rather than one, adding depth. "Reborn" and "Pride (The Warrior's Way)" are also lyrically compelling, with the former fitting the mind frame of an imprisoned self-aware outlaw of society and the latter the mind frame of a defender of society.

In the midst of lyrical stories, the band excels at creating straight-forward riffs with nuanced symphonic backing. The music is closely reminiscent of that of Nightwish and Kamelot, but with less rigidity. The band admirably excels in minor-key melodic movements, but plays it safe as far as chord choices and musical innovation goes. Listeners will not find any real places where the band braves uncharted territory outside of "Pride (The Warrior's Way)," with its strikingly beautiful Japanese intro and interludes. For an album with such a high production value, the fact that only this one song really crystallizes the band's musical individuality is a bit of a disappointment.

Nevertheless, the album is comparable to any of the limited number of major symphonic power metal releases of the last two years. For a debut album, that is either an impressive feat or a sign that the times are changing and the "average" is being elevated. Either way, it means that "Bringer of Light" is well worth a few listens and will likely translate well to a live setting.

Highs: The first-person lyrical stories and depth of the overall sound.

Lows: It's a very safe release in that the music is very similar to that of other major bands.

Bottom line: A lyrically-compelling, dark symphonic power metal debut.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)