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Album Reviews : Damnations Day – A World Awakens

By on March 29, 2017

2017 seems to have started with a frenzy of Australian bands releasing new material. One of the albums which has caught my attention amongst the outpouring of new releases is A World Awakens, the second full-length album from Damnations Day 

I can’t claim to be overly familiar with Damnations Day, aside from noting that these guys made a massive impression in Perth when they played Stormrider Festival a few years ago and being aware of the fact that they have toured Europe with Accept. I’m basically a first time listener. But even still these guys are able to make an impression on me on the very first listen-through of A World Awakens. First of all, the production is crisp and the musicianship is top notch, but it is the crystal clear vocals from Mark Kennedy which give these guys a real quality edge and a true focal point of the bands’ sound. I probably use the term ‘world-class’ too often when reviewing Australian bands, but in this case, it just has to be said: highly impressive stuff. 

If you’re like me and aren’t overly familiar with the band, I’ll try to describe Damnations Day’s sound. It’s melodic metal with some of the elements that you associate with progressive metal and power metal.  The music doesn’t have the speed that you might generally associate with power metal, nor is the music overly ‘out there’ or contains the overtly technical moments which would clearly justify the progressive tag; yet there’s an overriding vibe that I get which seems to fit quite comfortably in the prog/power bracket. I get some Dream Evil vibes at times, but this is probably more due to Mark Kennedy’s vocals sharing similar qualities to Niklas Isfeldt rather than the arrangements being overly similar to what Dream Evil do. Some of the guitar solos are reminiscent of some of John Petrucci’s more melodious work, but Damnations Day have their own thing going on for sure.  Hopefully this paints a picture for you, but I’d recommend giving the album a spin and making up your own mind! 

My picks for the top tracks on the album are “The Witness”, “Colours of Darkness”, “To Begin Again” & “Diagnose”.  The bookends of the album (“The Witness” & “Diagnose”) are particularly strong and is probably a good representation of the album in general. “The Witness” is a great tune and contains some of the harder hitting moments on the release without sacrificing the sort of catchy vocals that are littered throughout the nine tracks on A World Awakens. “Diagnose” is a mellow ballad of sorts which really showcases Mark Kennedy’s vocals and the uplifting aspect to Damnations Day’s sound. 

The song writing on A World Awakens is very ‘song focused’. The vocals take pride of place but leave just enough room for the odd guitar solo or riff to really impress. The vocal melodies are really strong and memorable to the point that they would almost lend themselves to more radio-friendly musical styles. If a mainstream band was releasing the track “Diagnose” it would probably receive regular play on mainstream radio. 

A World Awakens is a very easy listen. It seems to fly by without any effort on the listeners behalf; one of the hallmarks of a quality release. There are big vocal hooks and plenty of great moments to keep you pressing repeat time and time again.  If I was going to be overly critical I would say that perhaps I’d like to see some more variation in feel and tempo because the album seems relatively one-paced as a whole. But in fairness to the band, it’s a pace which suits Damnations Day to a T. I’m just nitpicking.

A World Awakens is the real deal and I’d strongly recommended it to all fans of melodic metal.

A World Awakens is out now via Sensory Records! Grab your copy of A World Awakens via this link HERE.

About

Chris is a long time metal enthusiast and advocate for Australian heavy music scene. Chris grew up in Perth, Western Australia and is a past member of modern melodeath act Let's Kill Uncle. Currently residing in London, UK.