By Phil Cooper
Following a line-up change after their previous album ‘The Valiant Fire’, UK symphonic metallers Damnation Angels are back with nine brand new tracks on ‘Fiber Of Our Being’. With new vocal duties taken up by Iggy Rod and the rhythm section completed by the addition of bassist Nic Southwood, the four-piece are looking to hit hard with a powerhouse sound and epic tracks.
With the opening guitar riff accompanied by swelling strings, the symphonic element of Damnation Angels’ sound is immediately established. This intro for opening track ‘More Than Human’ quickly gives way to a gothic themed melody which serves to drive the main verse sections. There’s a good balance between catchy melody and heavier hitting riffs as the track progresses through to the chorus and breakdown sections. The vocals cut right through the top of the finely balanced mix allowing for the listener to latch onto the lyrics with clarity.
As the album moves to track two, there’s more of a power metal vibe matching the symphonic undercurrent. The intro packs a punch with stand alone vocals soaring high then the guitars and strings cut in backed up by the rhythm section. The heavy hit immediately catches the listeners attention before the dynamics dial back allowing some space to grow as the vocals take the lead. The guitars then re-ignite leading a layered texture drive. ‘Railrunner’ has all the hallmarks of a live classic for Damnation Angels, as there are some call and response lyric moments matched by catchy hooks and riffs that are very headbanger friendly.
One of the big scoring points of ‘Fiber Of Our Being’ is the musicianship. Each track offered up is well crafted with shifting dynamics, time changes and balanced melodies offsetting the powerful riffs. Each member of the band has command of their place within the sound contributing to a united front. Stand out moments for this to be head are the title track, ‘Fractured Amygdala’ and the epic ‘Remnants of A Dying Star’ which twists into many different elements but always retains a sense of belonging to the album and the overall sound of Damnation Angels. While the musicianship stands prominent as an excellent point of note to the album, both the song writing and mixing should receive equal praise. Lyrically the tracks are all approachable. There is balance struck between the bombastic nature of symphonic metal without anything being overblown and sliding into either the ridiculous or inaccessible which can happen with some bands of the genre. The band have delivered songs that fans can sing along to with gusto as well as appreciate the content of the words. The mixing of the album from Scott Atkins increases and supports the majestic nature of the music. All of the instrumental elements are clearly audible yet blended to provide a sonic unity, similarly the mastering supports the song-writing allowing for the dynamic shifts to create the required space and develop the delivery of the music. The partnership of good mixing and good song-writing lends so much more weight to this album, elevating it to another level from previous releases.
With nine tracks packed full of sweeping symphonic metal backed up with solid performances and a balanced mix, ‘Fiber Of Our Being’ packs a weighty punch for Damnation Angels and the UK symphonic metal scene. When live music can once again be resumed it will be great to see these tracks taken on the road and delivered to a live audience, as there is a lot here for the band to work with and increase their fanbase.
- ‘Fiber Of Our Being’ is released on 31 July. You can get your copy HERE.
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