Damnation Angels bring the light on debut album
After a 2006 demo and a 2009 E.P. English symphonic power metal outfit, Damnation Angels released its first full length album, Bringer of Light on March 7, 2012. This marked six years that the band had been together working towards this common goal. Six years seems like a long time, but upon listening to the album, it is clear why the band waited so long to release this album. For a debut album especially, but even for a seasoned band, Bringer of Light is absolutely beautiful. From the opening track of this album, it is obvious that this band is outstandingly symphonic and atmospheric. Each and every song is superbly produced, orchestrated, and tells a great story from start to finish.
After a beautiful opening instrumental, one that truly sold me on the band right of the bat, “The Longest Day of My Life” kicks off the record as a ten minute epic. The song runs a little long and towards the end the chorus gets quite repetitive. After that amazing instrumental I felt a little let down. “Reborn” however restored my faith, with wonderful string work and a catchy chorus, I was hooked yet again. That guitar and drum work really brought life and driving forces into the slowing pace of the album.
The way the songs are put together, it’s hard to tell where one song ends and another begins. They all flow so seamlessly together to tell one entire story. The common pattern throughout the album is as follows: The versus slow, while keyboard and orchestration work steals the spotlight, then enter an ethereal chorus. “Bringer of Light” is just about the only track on the album that starts off as strong as it ends and really shows off the string musicians. Beware, the hook in the chorus will never leave your mind.
The album also features a damnable version of Metallica‘s “No Leaf Clover” which is a great cover, although the only thing worse than James Hetfield’s vocal style is someone else trying to sound like him. He is truly the only person who has proven to be able to pull them off, and I wish Pellek would have left his more original vocal style in the mix.
The true shining moment on the record is the closing song “Pride (The Warriors Way)” which is nearly ten minutes long but tells the story of a band of warriors so beautifully, you hardly feel as if a few seconds have passed by. “A thousand years could pass us by but it’ll never change our warrior’s pride” echoes at the end, after wonderful instrumentals, haunting chants, flawless keyboard and guitar work, enhanced by the gallop in the drums, all topped with stellar lyrics and vocal arrangements. This song is a true gem and proves on its own that Damnation Angels has it in them to create marvelous music while telling a strong and passionate story.
Outside of the symphonic elements, the concept behind Bringer of Light is quite dark and at times densely emotional. Though it’s not the heaviest, fastest, or strongest album I have heard all year it definitely strikes a personal note, pulls on the heart-strings, and sincerely moves you inside and out. The melodies and orchestrations throughout the album are at times unbelievable and show true musicianship and talent. The lyrics are personal, and through the moving vocal style of Pellek, hard to disregard. Though some songs lack true drive and focus throughout the verses, the absolutely gorgeous chorus and musical arrangements step in and take over. Not quite found as often as it should in power metal, this is one of those albums that sells itself through the powerful atmosphere, rather than larger-than-life choruses and corny imagery. It’s a dark yet uplifting album that all symphonic metal fans should at least check out.
Damnation Angels is:
Will Graney – Guitars, orchestration, backing vocals
PelleK – Vocals
Stephen Averill – Bass
John Graney – Drums
Dawn Trigg – Keyboards