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Soul piercing excellence. - 90%

hells_unicorn, November 16th, 2011

A couple of years ago Germany decided to get in on the routine that Spain, The Netherlands, Austria, Finland and Portugal had been dabbling in since the late 90s, namely splicing together a symphonic-tinged power metal style with a pristine soprano lead vocalist. Granted, the building blocks for this style were already in the works going back to the days of 80s Helloween (minus the soprano vocalist), but they didn't quite take the plunge until the entry of Dawn Of Destiny, a highly impressive outfit with their own unique twist on this style. They started off with a tiny bit of an identity problem, coming off more like a poor man's Epica than anything else, but things took a powerful turn with the catchier and heavier "Rebellion In Heaven", an album that rivaled much of the better albums put out over the past 10 years.

Their latest offering "Human Fragility" continues in the same general format of the band's sophomore effort, walking a tight line between the typical trappings of German melodic tendencies and a slight progressive edge. It often carries the galloping chugs typical to Mark Jansen's riff work, but with a distorted character more in line with Kai Hansen, topped off with a moderated keyboard presence that isn't quite as flamboyant as Nightwish. Furthermore, in the instances of "Ten Plagues Of Egypt" and "A Better Time To Come" there is an extremely thick guitar groove overlay that is heavy enough for the recent modern trends in the genre, yet still delivering the necessary melodic and atmospheric contours in a similar manner to early 2000s Nocturnal Rites. Occasional guest male vocal slots that largely compare to Marco Heitala's gravely growls chime in on a few songs, most notably bringing up the Nighwish comparisons on the down tempo title song.

But in the same general fashion as the previous album, the real strength of this album is on display when an epic, speedy approach in line with the German tradition of Helloween. The dark yet triumphant air on display in "Silent Suffering" and "Destiny Unknown", particularly during the riveting choruses, just can't be resisted. An intricate blend of tasteful symphonic flavoring meshed with dark, dreary guitar lines and thunderous drumming makes the whole thing mesh perfectly to Tanja Maul's angelic yet melancholy vocal display. And when all is said and done, the best is saved for last when the flowing violin and orchestrations of "For Love" leads into a brilliant final ode to a very socially aware and ironically fatalistic set of lyrical subjects, almost as if hinting at the old philosophical question of why do we harm the things we love with the answer of there being something inherently off in the communication between our passions and our actions.

While Epica tends to be the most renowned purveyor of this blend of styles, it is arguable that Dawn Of Destiny is a slightly more accessible alternative to most mainline power metal fans, not to mention they tend to get the job done a bit better in the lyrical department and don't overuse the growling side of the beauty and the beast vocal duet model. This album, along with its predecessor, are among the more metallic and riff happy of this approach, and will probably make up for the recent slump that acts like Sonata Arctica and Nightwish have found themselves in. In typical fashion to a number of recently born bands with a ton of potential, this one has suffered a recent line up shift that might end up dramatically altering what was once a winning formula, but two great albums and another decent one is a good track record for a band in a crowded genre.

A worthy follow-up - 82%

dweeb, June 1st, 2010

Dawn of Destiny is a lightly symphonic power metal band from Germany and this is their third studio CD. Their songs are generally fast, dense, crunchy, guitar-driven upbeat power metal. There is a nice diversity in their song structures but most of them feature interplay between passages of mid-tempo crunchy guitar-driven riffs and really fast bombastic drumming overlaid with extremely catchy and memorable choruses. There are keys but they are sparse and mainly atmospheric and often accompany the infrequent but exquisitely well-placed slower and more poignant passages. Their music is similar to older Nightwish and older Lunatica at their most epic, but Dawn of Destiny is much higher energy than either of those bands.

Their female vocalist, Tanja Maul, is one of the best female vocalists in metal today. She sings with incredible power and emotion, with a soaring, confident, often penetrating soprano delivery that still simply amazes me, even after many dozens of listens to their discography – she is nearly without equal in her ability to combine an extremely expressive musicality with such control and authority. There are occasional death and clean male vocals as well, adding a nice dose of aggression and variety, respectively, to the songs.

Although this is a crowded genre not often known for originality, Dawn of Destiny stand out with their uncanny ability to write fresh, engaging songs filled with enthusiasm and surprising variety, while maintaining the catchy accessibility expected from power metal. Indeed, their previous CD, Rebellion in Heaven, was my favorite CD of 2008 and it continues to amaze me with its unprecedented blend of fierce almost thrashy power metal and spine-tingling catchy choruses – so how does Human Fragility compare in quality? It is a worthy successor but the song-writing doesn’t quite reach the almost magically engaging passion of Rebellion in Heaven; nevertheless, Human Fragility is one of the strongest CDs of 2009 and it is essential for any fan of female vocal power metal.

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