Led by brothers Mark and Dean Kennedy, this Australian outfit have released their second effort following on from 2013’s “Invisible, The Dead”. Since that release, they’ve had plenty of gig time including a support slot with Accept so it comes as no surprise that “A World Awakens” has a definite maturity to it. Joined by Jon King on lead guitar, they’ve developed into a tight unit which would lead many to believe they’ve been at this game a lot longer than they actually have.
“The Witness” is a pulsating introduction to the album. The clean and powerful vocal performance from Mark Kennedy is an immediate stand out. The track itself has a sense of soaring grandeur that sets up the next two tracks beautifully. There are strong progressive metal elements on “Dissecting The Soul” and “Colours Of Darkness” that are occasionally reminiscent of Mastodon. Chugging riffs are interspersed with delicate Satriani like flourishes that keeps the uplifting aura alive. Again, the vocals are a highlight with shades of Bruce Dickinson operatic drama keeping pace with the sometimes stratospheric guitar.
Things take on a more contemporary metal feel with the NWOBHM flecked “I Pray” before a reflective mid-section where they move into what feels like power ballad territory. There’s a commercially accessible vibe here that perhaps feels a little dated and some of the album’s earlier freshness has faded. “The Idol Counterfeit” is a return to form with a churning tech metal style urgency creeping back in and a rattling machine gun quality to the rhythm section. Shades of Creed and Audioslave can be found in the closing track “Diagnose”, as symphonic tones give way to thumping, arena friendly riffs.
Without a doubt, Damnations Day have some serious musical talent and those vocals definitely grab the attention. The opening three tracks are worth the price of admission alone simply for those qualities and the sound of a band who clearly have a strong creative urge. There are some elements at times that feel a little past their use by date but overall this is an album worth giving a spin.
(7/10 Johnny Zed)