Sometimes, I really get into a band’s debut, and then I lose track of them later. I like to blame Facebook. Last time I heard Damnation Angels, they were releasing their amazing debut EP, “Shadow Symphony”. Apparently, they’ve released multiple albums since then, and so I feel out of the loop. Enter “Fiber of Our Being”, the brand new album that is releasing on July 31st. If this album is any indication of their talent, then I need to go back and hear everything else they’ve made.
Damnation Angels comes to us from the UK. The band has had some lineup changes since the last album. The new lineup includes William Graney on guitars, Iggy Rodriguez on vocals and guitar, John Graney on drums, and Nic Southwood on bass.
The band was well-known during their debut for being a fiery new face in symphonic metal. That is still how I see them, actually. Their music is forceful, mighty, and commanding in presence. I’ve always thought that they sound like a cross between Kamelot and classic rock veterans Magnum. With charging rhythms, humongous choruses, and gorgeous melodies, the band doesn’t attempt to be subtle, typically. With this new album, the band seems more mature than ever, though, retaining those signature sounds, but adding more depth, nuance, and texture. This album has plenty of symphonic madness, but also musing electronic interludes, instrumental fervor, and progressive attitude.
“Fiber of Our Being” is a huge surprise for me this year. I haven’t loved many metal albums so far in 2020, and I didn’t expect to find anything out of the norm here, either. Maybe it was just a rut I was in, who knows? What the Damnation Angels have achieved on this record, though, cannot be understated. All of the tracks on this album are meticulously crafted and richly composed. When I say that I like each and every track, I truly mean that. There isn’t a weak or even just “solid” track here. All of them are outstanding for various reasons.
Not only does this album bring the metal and the maturity, but the lyrics are rather good, too. With a title like “Fiber of Our Being”, you probably know the direction they are going. The lyrics are somewhat spiritual in a general sense, begging us to see something beyond our physicality, something that truly matters and connects us all. I especially like the foreboding warning of “Greed and Extinction”, which is probably self-explanatory.
The album has nine tracks and clocks in around 53 minutes in length. The band released “The Sum of Our Parts” as the single, which is the album closer. I admire this decision because it is a slow burning track with plenty of subtlety, emotion, and inference. It is pure melody with backing vocals that sound angelic (for lack of a better word), and it establishes a rhythm that doesn’t become wearisome. I really, really like it. The opener on the album is called “More Than Human”, and it really sounds like something that could have been on the band’s original EP years ago. I take that as a statement that the new singer can be a Damnation Angel as such. It’s a hugely enjoyable song with the band’s signature galloping chorus style. However, the rest of the album explores other sounds, too.
I don’t want to discuss each track, even though I could. My favorites are “Railrunner”, the title track, “Our Last Light”, “Greed and Extinction”, and “Remnants of a Dying Star”. Okay, that’s almost all of them, and believe me, “Rewrite the Future” and “Fractured Amygdala” are both fantastic songs, too. “Railrunner” and “Remnants of a Dying Star” feel like they can be compared as they are longer tracks with plenty of instrumental fire. The former has a classic hair metal vibe that I love. It has a giant chorus and a running, surging tone that doesn’t quit. “Remnants of a Dying Star” might be my favorite on the album. It has two distinct sections separated by an extended sequence of whirling electronic musings and keyboard orchestrations. I absolutely love it and the contrast between light and darkness that is buried in it.
The title track is perhaps the catchiest song, right from the start. The chorus is immensely memorable, so much so that I find myself singing it all the time in the shower. Go figure. “Our Last Light” is an interesting change for the band. It has more of a pop ballad vibe to it, and it is perhaps the most emotional song on the album. With thundering percussion playing up against tender vocal lines, the song is really effective. I love it. Lastly, “Greed and Extinction” is an off-kilter song with some stunning electronic fills and glorious moments. It isn’t the catchiest song in the world, but I have really taken to it.
Damnation Angels are back after a five-year gap, and I can’t ask for a better album than this. I need to play catch up on their older albums, but I have a feeling I’m going to be stuck on this one for some time yet. “Fiber of Our Being” has such a wonderful dynamic between bright hopeful moments and darker, more Gothic ideas. The band is clearly exploring some uncharted territory for them, while also keeping their signature sound and super tight composition style. I think fans will be pleased, and the band will hopefully garner more fans with this offering, too.
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