Have you ever heard an album that simply captivates you? Sometimes, that might be because of the musical prowess or even just the oddity of what you are hearing. Sometimes, though, it’s more about the emotion and power felt within the record. Our Destiny represents that latter group, and their debut, “Awakening”, is like a beacon of rising hope and healing. It releases on June 21st.
Our Destiny is a special project. It primarily features Vikram Shankar (Redemption, Lux Terminus) and his significant other, Lauren Nolan. Vikram handles keyboards, guitars, bass guitars, vocals, programming, and string arrangements; while Lauren is front and center on lead vocals. You will also hear Amanda Wilson and John Pyres on vocals, as well as Andrew Sabol on cello.
“Awakening” is all about the healing power of love. Look, we all have baggage, anxieties, and problems that we bring with us everywhere we go. This album is about how the love of another can help weather those storms and heal us in ways we never knew.
Our Destiny does not attempt to hide their inspirations. They list artists like Anathema, Susanne Sundfor, Evergrey, and Florence and the Machine as their influences, but all of that is from a specific perspective, I suppose. The music here is rich, bright, and enlightening. This is pop, possibly with some progressive trappings; and, seeing as how Vikram is involved, the music is dense with genius piano compositions, but you will hear plenty of acoustic guitar and also atmospheric electric guitar musings. The music is all about the overall ambiance that just seems to hang heavily in the air and drip from every note and lyric. You will feel elated and encouraged after you finish this album; and, if you don’t, something is morbidly wrong with you.
So, you will definitely hear the airy melodies and climactic songwriting of Anathema/Daniel Cavanagh, but you will also hear the unorthodox pop of Sundfor, not to mention the balladic abilities of Tom from Evergrey. This album is primarily about the big vocal hooks that are masterfully performed by Lauren, the lyrical message, and the meticulous melodies. You can definitely tell that Vikram wanted this to be about Lauren, first and foremost. That’s what love does, though, right?
This album plays like one full experience. Once you start listening, you just want to continue to the end. There are several absolutely stunning tracks along the way, though. “Awakening” opens the album with a grand vision and lots of atmosphere. “Don’t Fade Away” is a beautiful track that rises into a fomenting piano rhythm near the end. Gorgeous. “The Promise” feels huge with its thundering drums, celestial vocals, and hopeful premise. “Our Destiny” seems like the defining song for this project, especially lyrically. The atmosphere on this song is particularly textured, almost as if it were difficult to breathe. The song is potent and emotional.
I have three favorites, though. “Presence” almost feels 90s in its atmosphere, which I love. The awesome guitar intro is just the start to a great song with a fantastic chorus. “The Healing” is one of the more upbeat tracks on the album. It features John Pyres as he sings a duet with Lauren, and the chorus flows like melted butter. “Dawn” truly feels like an “awakening”. It is the rising sun of hope, courage, and the knowledge that love will help you get through the night.
“A Light in the Darkness” is an instrumental ending for this thoughtful album. It feels enlightening and illuminating, like a lighthouse beacon breaking the darkness of the fog of our lives. It is a swirling, harmonious period at the end of this sentence of love and beauty. It helps you consider what you have just heard, and I can’t think of a better way to end this work.
Our Destiny is obviously a work straight from the heart of two lovers who found peace and healing in each other. Vikram and Lauren make a fantastic team, especially with Lauren singing over Vikram’s piano skills. Pop just doesn’t get much better or more sophisticated than this.
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