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F.E.A.R - 65%

Andromeda_Unchained, April 23rd, 2014

Last time I checked in with Dawn Of Destiny would have been around Human Fragility, hot on the heels of arguably its finest hour in the sophomore effort Rebellion In Heaven. Having skipped Praying To The World completely, their latest opus – and canon fifth – F.E.A.R, is my first taste of Dawn Of Destiny sans Tanja Maul. It would seem a lot more has changed than just a vocalist, as save for an overbearing penchant for “beauty and the beast” style vocals, this could be a completely different band as compared to the one that delivered charming cuts like “Days Of Crying”.

Gone is the Edenbridge-on-steroids approach which characterized Dawn Of Destiny’s early releases, and in its place is a dramatic, progressively tinged, and densely layered style which would recall modern Epica or Nightwish – despite Dawn Of Destiny being further riff-based than the latter. Jeanette Scherff’s vocals aren’t too far away from Tanja’s in terms of performance and delivery, and both thankfully steer away from the token, corset-sporting “operatic” style. I definitely prefer Tanja’s sugary charm, but Jeanette certainly gets the job done with her lower, staged performance – that is, when she’s allowed to sing, as there are a lot of male vocals happening throughout, whether it’s Mats Leven, Jon Oliva, a token growler, and I’m guessing another of the regular band members.

Dawn Of Destiny has always recorded a generous amount of material for its albums, and F.E.A.R is no different, awarding plenty of bang for your buck. It’s just a shame the album is riddled with filler. A lot of the time I find Dawn Of Destiny to come across as too inward and self concerned. I’m guessing this is an attempt at composing deep and affecting music, which fails more often than it succeeds. The snooze-inducing “Innocence Killed” stands as the best (worst?) example of this: going nowhere fast and ruining the flow of the album early on. Fortunately, the band picks it back up with “No Hope For The Healing”, thanks to an appearance from the Mountain King, who always commands the attention.

The album operates around a 65:35 ratio (quality: filler), although thankfully there are some excellent moments such as the aforementioned “No Hope For The Healing”, the absolutely successful epic number “One Last Time” (which I feel pretty much displays everything Dawn Of Destiny were aiming for here), and the following “Dying In Your Arms” (which much to my chagrin isn’t a Cutting Crew cover; but a wonderful, mid-tempo anthem). To be honest, the front half of the album tends to be more offending and heavier on the filler, where as the latter half tends to hit the nail on the head a little more often.

Despite a few unsuccessful attempts at sounding more deep and involved that it is, I’ve found F.E.A.R. to be a fairly enjoyable romp, and one I might even come back to. I do much prefer Dawn Of Destiny’s earlier output, as I find the music to be better written and more to the point, but without a doubt, there’s some pretty cool stuff here. Mileage will, of course, vary, and really it’s going to boil down to whether or not the sounds of theatrical, symphonic metal turns you on. Expect all of the progressive tinges and slight power metal nuance common in acts like Epica or even Magica, just don’t expect anything like Rebellion In Heaven.

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