Damnation Angels – Fiber of Our Being Review

It was only a matter of time before something epic and heart-wrenching would come along to sadden and depress me in these uncertain times. Ironically, it had to be Damnation Angels’ newest opus. As both of the band’s previous full-length releases marked uncertain times of my life. Graduating with my PhD for 2012’s Bringer of the Light and my introduction to a professorship with 2015’s The Valiant Fire. Yet, today’s uncertainty is one we all share. Will things ever return to normal? And, if they do, what will “normal” look like? Sometimes it takes every fiber in my body not to lash and scream out at this stupid fucking world. Though the homeless are multiplying outside my bedroom window and even the friendliest people I know look broken down, everything’s fine. So fine. If the apocalypse is truly upon us, it’s fitting that the Damnation Angels will guide us to the flames. So, forward march. Let’s enjoy this new hell with every Fiber of Our Being.

The first thing you’ll discover as the Kamelot-ish opening track “More Than Human” plays out is the song’s unfamiliar voice. You’re right, that is not PelleK’s voice. After two well-crafted LPs, PelleK moves on and the band replaces him with a little-known Argentinian named Ignacio Rodríguez. The other thing you’ll notice is that a new vocalist hasn’t changed Damnation Angels one bit. The band is still power, it’s still symphonic, and it’s still grandiose AF. Mastermind Will Graney continues to beautify the soundwaves with beefy riffs, soaring solos, powerful backing vox, tear-jerking melodies, and bombastic orchestrations. If anything has changed of great significance since The Valiant Fire, I’d say it’s the increased passion and spontaneity in the vocal department.

This is most obvious in songs like “Railrunner,” “Our Last Light,” and “Rewrite the Future.” The first is one of the epics of the album, though it’s nowhere near as long as the neatly-effected, Nightwish-orchestrated, thirteen-minute “Remnants of a Dying Star.” The six-plus-minute “Railrunner” combines gentle piano and strings with killer Dream Evil plods and one of the best choruses on the record. Rodriguez completes the song, adding his passionate voice to the passion already there. A similar trait is found in the follow-up title track. But, unlike the valley-to-summit trek of “Railrunner,” “Fiber of Our Being” is a building piece that doesn’t stop until the last chords of the final chorus ring out.

But, like PelleK before him, Rodriguez needs range and diversity to keep up with the fans of Damnation Angels. This he does in the sad, soft piano-led moments of “Our Last Light.” This gorgeous tearjerker, with its melodic, heart-racing chorus and Polar Express-inspired backing choirs, is the beautiful ballad of the album. As the descriptions sound, these songs are what you’d expect from the band. That makes “Rewrite the Future” a black sheep of the bunch. And one that shows Rodriguez digger deeper into his vocal talents. Not only does the songwriting have a distinct Sabaton vibe but the chorus reeks of old-school Mercenary. Rodriguez belting it out like ex-Mercenary vocalist Mikkel Sandager sends chills down my goddamn spine.

Fiber of Our Being is, like The Valiant Fire before it, a very good album. Though songs like “Railrunner” and Nightwishy-washy “Fractured Amygdala” overshadow a weaker song like “Greed and Extinction,” I wouldn’t consider the latter to be filler. If anything, it’s another unique piece when compared to the others. PelleK’s amazing voice may be gone but Damnation Angels are in good hands with Rodriguez. That said, I’d be lying if I didn’t feel that a new vocalist and label-less release had me questioning the success of the band’s third full-length. I’m glad I was proven wrong.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Self Release
Websites: damnationangels.com | facebook.com/damnationangels
Releases Worldwide: July 31st, 2020

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