Damnations Day – A World Awakens (Sensory Records)Thursday, 9th March 2017
Australian melodic metal act Damnations Day have made impressive in roads outside of domestic borders following the release of their 2013 Invisible, The Dead debut album. Especially opening for Accept across mainland Europe for two months during the fall of 2014 – you can’t help but learn and grow playing for 1,000-3,000 people a night. Taking the bulk of two years to write and record the follow-up, we finally get to hear the fruits of their labor in A World Awakens.
The soaring, majestic and powerhouse range from guitarist Mark Kennedy as a singer puts Damnations Day in the elite class – rich in texture, expressive on multi-level emotional capacities. It’s obvious within first exposure to this material the man has studied the Ralf Scheepers/ Geoff Tate playbook when you hear “Colours Of Darkness” and the cinematic flourish-filled “To Begin Again” – a feather in the cap to musically push all dimensions dynamically. And as far as that music, it sways between the power and progressive platforms. Drummer Dean Kennedy shifts between natural double bass/ groove tempos and juggling time signatures like an octopus between china crashes, snare, and fill hits right away on the seductive opener “The Witness” (think Evergrey here) and the crunchier, straightforward bouncy follow up “Dissecting the Soul”.
Production duties from Teramaze guitarist Dean Wells (who also serves as an exemplary session bassist) boost all the frequencies and nuances necessary to keep the material sharp, bristling with vibrancy and urgency. Hypnotic vocal effects and keyboard spots never overshadow the intricacy present, instead painting the full landscape as the set of songs envelope you in another plane of universal existence. And if you want to hear another tear-jerking power ballad in the Circus Maximus mold, look no further than the semi-acoustic to electric transformation that is “Diagnose”. The Australian scene possesses a wealth of talent, viewing the power/progressive metal movement in a fresh way possibly due to its remoteness from mainland Europe or North America. A World Awakens contains all the right hooks, choruses, and upper tier musicianship/ vocal work to put them not just in the starting gates, but bursting to the elite class a la Vanishing Point or Voyager.