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Epica + guitar solos. - 78%

hells_unicorn, August 7th, 2011

My introduction to the German born Dawn Of Destiny was their 2nd album “Rebellion In Heaven”, and the picture it presented was a band that is very willing to keep things compact yet also mix up the influences a bit. In other words, I heard something that had a fair level of divergence from the mainline sound as presented by Epica and the now defunct After Forever. Since looking back to a year prior to said release, I’ve found a band that started out a good bit closer to the longer winded, cliché beauty and the beast oriented brand of symphonic power metal with maybe a slightly less overt gothic influence. But at the same time, the chorus approach and general tendency towards orthodox speed metal sounds is present, though in a less overt sense, and the leap from this album to their next one isn’t quite as massive as might be guessed.

The principle way that I’d separate this album from the various symphonic ones that it is likely to draw comparisons to is the guitar character, which is a bit less dark and melodeath influenced than that of Epica/early After Forever. In fact, the overall guitar character has that crunchy yet smooth tendency associated with mainline German acts such as Gamma Ray and Freedom Call, though the keyboard presence dilutes it a bit on some of the longer songs. Then again, the riff set does occasionally give a few nods to an eviler tendency that is more commonly associated with the groove/thrash sound of latter day Nevermore, as was the case on subsequent releases. Not to mention that this band is geared towards a more guitar solo happy style that Epica and the like tend not to bother with to any noticeable extent.

Song by song, there is a heavy tendency towards massive sounding arrangements via keyboard work and powerful vocals, underscored by the strong yet sweet voice of Tanja Maul. Of particular note are the catchier, shorter songs such as the riveting “Healing Touch” (which gives a preview for the general tendencies of subsequent releases) and the galloping speed vs. slow balladry of “Alone At Night”, which generally tend more towards the rudimentary power metal paradigm but maintain that large sounding, film score commonly associated with Rhapsody Of Fire. By contrast, some fits of orthodox “The Phantom Agony” styled longer songs in “D.O.D.” (Dawn Of Destiny) and “Condemnation” mix in a fair amount of darker elements, including the harsh death vocals (which at times get a little ridiculous and resemble pig squeals) and heavier riffing character.

The target audience of this album is pretty obvious. Anyone who likes current female fronted metal trends and also likes speed and guitar solos will find just about everything there is to like on here. However, at times the music gets a little convoluted, particularly on a few of the longer songs where a few too many ideas are mashed in together. When listening to “Rebellion In Heaven” there is a clear cohesiveness that dominates the entire album, whereas this one has a few blind spots where the catchiness gets lost amid all of the differing musical themes. It’s not a deal breaking flaw, but it is definitely noticeable, and renders this of a slightly lower caliber than the standard offerings heard out of Mark Jansen.