Bringer of Light is the debut full-length album by UK symphonic power metal act Damnation Angels. Although the band is British, they are fronted by Norwegian vocalist Per Fredrik "Pellek" Asly, who was a contestant on the 2009 edition of his country’s version of talent show The X Factor. Being UK based myself and somewhat familiar with our version of said show all I can say is that the program would be much more entertaining if it had a power metal vocalist in it. However knowing the UK like I do I doubt it would ever happen. But anyway, you don’t want to hear about The X Factor of any description right? You want to know about Bringer of Light.
Damnation Angel’s music will most likely often be described as symphonic power metal, but there’s actually a large portion of the music on Bringer of Light which fits more of a ‘regular’ symphonic metal vein, where the riffs slow down from the speedy power metal approach, but more than that the symphonic elements in the music are very classical based and of epic proportions that the music moves beyond the line that divides symphonic metal as a genre from metal that is simply using symphonic backing. In some ways the band remains me of Finnish act Nightwish, but if back in 1996 Tuomas Holopainen had decided that the band should be fronted by a male vocalist rather than a female with a soprano range.
I suppose when taking Damnation Angels for what it says on the tin, you could expect to find power metal of the very cheesy variety within. While I don’t doubt that some will still find the band’s highly symphonic (and occasionally progressive) style to be cheesy I have to say that my experience with the album says that as far as the cheese-o-metre goes, this is pretty low on the scale. That’s because the symphonic elements only make this album one of epic quality. They are really top notch so the music goes beyond cheese. It helps in this department that the lyrics are pretty good too.
Bringer of Light impressed me mostly because of the excellent symphonic parts right from the first listen. This young band has very high grade musicianship all round. Pellek is also clearly a talented vocalist although he doesn’t stand out as anything particular special of different within the power metal crowd, which is perhaps the only disappointment I have with Bringer of Light since I’ve heard quite a bit of hype about this guy and I suppose I expected someone of the highest quality. Although I also suppose that if you come out of The X Factor and do something other than bland pop music you’re going to create something of a stir. Regardless, Pellek fits Damnation Angel’s music really well and since the album is of an exceptionally high compositional quality throughout, and disappointment felt is incredibly fleeting and it only takes the chorus in the first proper song, The Longest Day of My Life, to hit and the album has me completely hooked.
There are a couple of tracks that don’t have quite the same bite or hooks as The Longest Day of My Life or I Hope, but overall Bringer of Light has an excellent flow and doesn’t get boring. The most surprising aspects of it are easily their cover of Metallica’s No Leaf Clover (better than the original in my opinion) and Pride (The Warrior's Way), which features oriental folk elements.
Bringer of Light is a high quality debut full-length from Damnation Angels and I’m pretty sure that with some increased exposure they’ll soon gather a high regard from both the power and symphonic metal circles. I feel a high end exceptional rating is easily deserved and it was very nearly a top tier.
(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven (http://metaltube.freeforums.org))