Dofka – Humanity Bleak (Self-Released)

Monday, 18th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

Ardent followers in the power or traditional metal scenes are most familiar with guitarist Jim Dofka [I sure as hell am – ed.] and his instrumental expertise. Humanity Bleak resurrects his vocal-led visions, a 10-song full-length album that should appease many looking for the mid to late 80’s soaring vocals, epic and full sounding riffs and a tight, rhythmic bass/drum tandem holding the songs together.

“Evocation” for instance, during the solo section (2:30-2:42) surprises with one of those furious Steel Prophet-like blast bursts over Jim’s fleet of finger neo-classical break. Follow up “The Bitter End” begins with a series of slower, precise triplets in syncopation from the snare and guitar, while Andrew D’Cagna’s vocals run the gamut of clean and slightly darker/ almost death-like roars.

I think the bulk of songwriting influence comes from the British and European contingent (especially in more doom-laden, mid-tempo numbers like “World On Fire” or “Immaculate Lie”) but I also know that there’s slight nods to acts like Queensryche or many of the early Shrapnel artists. It feels like Dofka are willing to keep one foot in their conventional tried and true roots, while also adding in some heavier elements at times vocally to appeal to a broader audience.

My overall consensus? Humanity Bleak contains enough to appeal to fans of early traditional metal as well as those who are enjoying the latest Nevermore platters. Purchase so that Jim and his band can get another album out sooner rather than later.

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