Sometimes association with past experiences can be misleading. A friend of mine lent me a CD by Dynazty a few years back when they were on Spinefarm – “I love this lot…and they sound like Dokken” he raved (not sure if he loved the band because of, or despite of, sounding like Dokken…) and upon playing said CD the band did indeed sound quite a bit like a slightly ballsier version of Dokken with more powerful vocals. I haven’t heard much since by Dynazty, just the odd track here and there, so when this came up for review I wasn’t sure I was particularly up for some Dokken-esque melodica, but given vocalist Nils Molin’s recent induction into the ranks of Amaranthe and a switch to new label AFM I suspected the band may have beefed up their sound a little. You know that’s right…!

If you look at the way Dynazty’s sound has been progressing, then the heavier, top notch Melodic Metal band they have become isn’t that big a leap. All the elements of the bands sound over the years are still more than audible, but the guitars have chunked up a bit and there is a more abundant embracing of modern keyboard sounds and usage. But alongside a wealth of fabulous catchy melodies, there are way more influences within their sound. Ironically there is occasionally a little Amaranthe in their music at times (like in the title track for instance), but also some Symphonic Metal too! ‘In The Arms Of A Devil’ actually reminds me of Sonata Arctica and there’s more than a hint of Stratovarius about ‘Ascension’.

You know what there isn’t much of? That would be Dokken – but no great loss, there are enough bands out there that sound a bit like Dokken…including, well, Dokken obviously. The nearest they come is maybe the Winterborn-esque, melody-driven ‘Closing Doors’, but that’s only because I’m listening for it, I wouldn’t have made any Dokken comparisons otherwise. So if this album sees the band trying to start afresh on a new label then job done! The album is vibrant and adventurous, interesting and varied. The music as I said, leans on keyboards quite a bit, but not in an ’80’s synthesiser sense. For me when the guitar takes to the fore in tracks like the excellent ‘Follow Me’, it feels like the band really shine. The vocals are elevated in delivery when working with an intricate guitar riff, echoing all the great Melodic Metal singers through the years.

Dynazty are pushing their boundaries and sound all the better for it. Like a band unleashed, every member sounds like they are relishing their part in each song. They are blending their influences and throwing in new ideas – and it works! Take ‘Let Me Dream Forever’ which has me in mind of a prime-time Joey Tempest singing for Vision Divine or Heavenly, but with a modern sampled central break, just to mix things up. Dynazty are crafting something unique, something that is undoubtedly their own. They are still on a musical journey, but they might have just taken a sharp left onto a road that could lead anywhere and I’m more than happy to join them on it.

(8/10 Andy Barker)