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A rebellion of visually abstract marionettes. - 91%

hells_unicorn, August 5th, 2011

Amongst the latter 2000s freshman class of power metal is a rather auspicious female fronted act in Dawn Of Destiny, a young yet highly ambitious German band with an eye to a niche that is commonly sought after, but rarely in this successful of a fashion. While the occasional intercessions of modern thrash riffing and melodeath oriented grunts are something that are equally present in After Forever and Epica’s offerings, what is present here is much more in line with the power metal rank and file, as in the ones who generally go for the likes of Helloween and their various stylistic emulators. A number of older examples of this approach can be found in singular offerings by Spiral Tower and Galloglass, but with an all male vocal cast.

While much of the current trends in female fronted metal have been towards a down tempo, gothic feel, this is a band committed to the faster roots of the genre, and it really shows on their sophomore effort “Rebellion In Heaven”. Say what you will about the bizarre album art, which bears a good deal of resemblance to a Tool music video combined with a recent Sonata Arctica album, this is a band that is musically more in line with the practices of the earlier 2000s revivalist scene. There is a healthy dose of modern practices, often placed as intro material or development ideas during or between verses, but this is catchy, chorus oriented metal that will often resort to a very cliché yet quite effective model combining familiar melodic material and fast drum beats.

This duality is carried well primarily because the modern elements don’t completely override the traditional ones, resulting in something that occasionally employs a 90s Nevermore character, but avoids the usual flaws associated with said band. This album never gets itself stuck in a rut/groove for 4 or 5 minutes and inspiring 7 minute naps in the listener followed by a waking silence yet are also heavy and dark enough to be distanced from the absolute orthodoxy of Gamma Ray and Iron Savior. A few songs such as “Inquisition” and “Perceive Me” definitely play up the bass work and creepy atmospheres alongside the pounding, simplistic chug riffs, but not really far beyond the darker material heard on a Masterplan album or maybe something out of Heathendom.

Nevertheless, the real strength of this album shines through the closer this outfit gets to the roots of the genre and plays up the catchy factor to its fullest. When hearing the up tempo and recognizable brilliance of “Lost”, “Angel Without Wings” and “Days Of Crying” it just takes one back to the majesty of 2001 where just about every band in the European power metal band was free of the external influence of various metalcore and overt hard rock tendencies. The proverbial icing on the cake is the vocal work of Tanja Maul, whose angelic croon sounds like a perfect embodiment of all the winning elements heard out of Julie Kiss and Cristina Scabbia.

Perhaps the only downside to this album, and it isn’t really much of one, is that it comes in a very tight and compact package. These songs don’t wander off in epic directions and run up the time clock in the way Pagan’s Mind will often do, but there is plenty of content and variety to go around, not to mention that these are actual songs that can be gotten into, rather than longwinded experiments to get lost in (not that that is necessarily a bad thing). Anyone who liked the middle era of Edenbridge where the tempos were high and the riffs thrashing will want to check this out, along with followers of Dark Moor and Fairyland who can do without the orchestral trappings for a spell.