British symphonic power metal outfit DAMNATION ANGELS have been around since 2006, with two highly acclaimed releases under their belt, “Bringer of Light” (2012) and “The Valiant Fire” (2015), plus the 2009 EP, “Shadow Symphony.” In a fresh and revamped line-up – as powerhouse vocalist Iggy Rodriguez and bassist Nic Southwood have joined the band in recent years – DAMNATION ANGELS is getting ready to independently release their third full-length album, “Fiber of Our Being,” out on 31 July 2020.
Feeling more like a concept album where each song is part of a larger story than just a collection of songs arranged in a specific order, the music grows in intensity as it unfolds and flows together neatly to create an interesting storyline about humanity and its quest to understand how to better itself. The chorus to the title track, as well as parts of the 13-minute epic “Remnants of a Dying Star” and “Rewrite the Future,” clearly point to that, with “A Sum of Our Parts” being the conclusion to the story. But without having the lyrics in front of me, I can only guess there’s a connection here, or at the very least there’s an overarching theme to be found throughout the nine songs.
Previewing their new album with the title track was a smart move, as this song highlights not only the dynamics at play all throughout the album (especially the big emphasis on melody), but also the band’s blend of power/progressive metal with symphonic elements. The chorus is extremely hooky while the chugging guitars parts, powerful drumming, and orchestral backdrop mix well together. New vocalist Iggy Rodriguez has a really strong and nuanced voice and he makes good use of it, singing in his lower register in the verses and hitting some high notes in the chorus. Second single and also album opener “More Than Human” has a somber feel coming from the lyrics, while still being a powerful and melodic track and setting a good introductory mood to the rest of the songs. Third single and album closer “A Sum of Our Parts” shows the emotional side of the band, with a soulful delivery, a beautiful backing piano melody, and deep lyrics that will tug at the heartstrings. These three singles complement each other, and the album as a whole, really well.
Music-wise, the album strikes a great balance between heaviness and melody, in a rather KAMELOT way, with a lot of beauty coming from the symphonic arrangements. The second track, “Railrunner,” has not just a great orchestral backbone to it, but also some guitar melodies that make it a power metal anthem and give more momentum to the album. The ballad, “Our Last Light,” starts on vocals and piano and has a beating heart sound in key moments, which adds to the emotion of the lyrics and Iggy Rodriguez’s expressive delivery. William Graney’s guitar solo brings some melody to the fold and rounds it up superbly. “Rewrite the Future” has some interesting futuristic/modern soundscapes throughout, while the guitars and drums give it heaviness and aggression. John Graney’s drums sound especially loud on this track and his playing is excellent.
Up next, “Fractured Amygdala” and “Greed and Extinction” showcase the above-mentioned balance between heaviness and melody perfectly, as they are some of the heaviest tracks on the album, with a lot of harshness coming from the instrumentals and orchestrations, but the vocal melodies counterbalance everything quite nicely. Nic Southwood’s bass is particularly wicked and rumbling in these two tracks, adding weight and darkness to the music. The centerpiece of the album is the epic “Remnants of a Dying Star,” where the progressive side of the band comes forth better, coupled with another catchy chorus and wonderful orchestral arrangements. As always happens with these longer tracks, this song is no exception to twisting and turning as it unfolds. However, they keep the same tempo throughout, so there are not many peaks and valleys (like in CALIGULA’S HORSE‘s “The Ascent,” for example) but the instrumental break midway through the song gives it enough of a cinematic vibe to warrant it’s slot in the progressive metal catalog.
To sum it up, DAMNATION ANGELS has done an excellent job with “Fiber of Our Being” and the five-year wait was well worth it. There are plenty of melodic hooks to keep the listeners engaged and interested while the symphonic orchestrations add to the epic feel of the music. The instrumentation level is high as each of the nine tracks offers great dynamics and contrasting melodies, while the crispy production makes this album such a pleasant sonic experience. Fans of such bands like KAMELOT, MYRATH, or DYNAZTY will find much to enjoy on “Fiber of Our Being.”
Written by Andrea Crow
- More Than Human
- Fiber Of Our Being
- Our Last Light
- Rewrite The Future
- Fractured Amygdala
- Greed and Extinction
- Remnants of A Dying Star
- A Sum of Our Parts
Iggy Rodriguez – Vocals, Guitar
William Graney – Guitar
John Graney – Drums
Nic Southwood – Bass
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