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Damnation Angels - Bringer of Life Review

by Matt Hensch

"No Leaf Clover" had seemed like an odd Metallica song to cover, but not after Damnation Angels revealed to my ears something invigorating. Pellek, vocalist for Damnation Angels, has no problem matching James Hetfield's redneck swagger, and the orchestral elements are rich and bold against the beefy guitar work and balanced rhythm section. It's overall a fantastic addition to an enthralling album; a rare cover song that's both loyal to the original yet given its own unique twist. Their style is more akin to Kamelot, Nightwish, Epica, and other symphonic power metal bands, which is kind of funny, because they make the controversial Metallica tune perfectly natural within the record's context. Damnation Angels proves itself to be a very diverse and talented faction throughout "Bringer of Light," musically driving home a point built upon power and purpose. In a world of shadows, they bring the light.

The genetic constructs of "Bringer of Light" aren't radical or complex compared to many of the aforementioned groups that clearly inspired these Brits. "Bringer of Light" is all about the orchestral elements, using thick, dazzling movements surrounding every corner of the band's power metal attack, and the atmosphere, which happens to conjure a cloudy, melancholic semblance not far from Kamelot's. They prove early on to be an incredibly incendiary bunch, opening with ten minutes of elegance throughout "The Longest Day of my Life" and then jumping into numbers that are a bit more commonplace among the power metal herd. Everything they deliver is all about substance and exceptional songwriting, and they never tumble over the symphonic instruments or appear enslaved by them.

The orchestral movements are outstanding, on the same level of ingenuity and grace as Xystus' "Equilibrio" (both albums are quite similar in a lot of ways). I'm not sure if the arrangements are actually real or not (blame that on a quick Google search that didn't yield anything relevant and my general laziness), but they sound bold, colorful, explosive, authentic. Clearly the prime strength of the record's efforts is found throughout the longer tracks, especially "Pride (The Warrior's Way)." Have you ever heard a Japanese-inspired power metal epic? If not, look no further. The song's folk atmosphere and color, mixed with the sturdy guitar work and symphonic structures, are unbelievably stellar, and it's one of those one-of-a-kind landmarks within its sound—I can't think of a similar group that would even consider attempting such a feat.

The ballad "Someone Else" is probably the weakest anthem here due to its semi-exhausting length, although I don't find myself convulsing on the floor with blood running out of my mouth whenever I listen to it. "Shadow Symphony" is a little on the dire side as well, but it's still not awful; it merely fails to match up to the insane standards put forth by its siblings. Other than that, "Bringer of Light" is just really, really enjoyable and poignant. The title track is superbly crafted and just a total riot of energetic compositions and cohesive musicality, much like the simpler, quicker songs like "I Hope" and "Reborn." Pellek sounds awesome, the riffs are loaded with hooks, the production is vibrant—I could go on forever, baby. The more I listen to "Bringer of Light," the more I am hypnotized by its magic. You're a fool if you enjoy bands like Kamelot and let Damnation Angels slide.

Damnation Angels - Bringer of Life


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