Atmospheric and immersive, Damnation Angels’ third full length Fiber of Our Being brings with it a few change for the British outfit. First and foremost in the lineup itself, wherein bassist Stephen Averill and vocalist Per Fredrik Åsly (alias PelleK) were replaced by Nic Southwood and Argentinean talent Ignacio Rodríguez respectively. Secondly, the songwriting, which has had a few years to develop since last outing The Valiant Fire (2015); a slight decrease on the progressive leanings, cranking the symphonic elements into a bigger, cinematic scope, and with a heavier punch it stands out as a marking feature on this album, which is meticulously executed.The opening few tracks set up a veritable freight train in immersive power metal, bringing both the symphonic elements and the gritty, heavy metal based guitar sound, setting up a theme of science fiction, existentialism and the duality of man.
There are a couple of cuts that kind of fall flat, though the album in its entirety continues to grow with each listen. Ballad Our Last Light kind of breaks the initial flow of the album, which had been great with the opening few tracks that kept a great pacing between swift running hitters and cooking mini epic power metal mastery, and halts the momentum without really giving much of passion or feeling in return. Then as the album progresses it gets increasingly immersive, the songwriting and performances deepening. The flairy tight drum work of John Graney comes to shine on tracks like Railrunner and Fractured Amygdala, while Southwood’s thick bass lines billow ‘neath Will Graney’s slithering leads, rich solos and towering riffage, a sound leaning at times toward Edguy’s much lauded mid era. Even Rodríguez’s vocals add to the touch, evoking at times a younger Tobias Sammet (Edguy, Avantasia) in the higher register and shouts which just seem to fit marvelously with the darker intonation and weightier feel of the album.
Of course, Damnation Angels wouldn’t go all this way without tossing a behemoth of an epic onto the album. Running at thirteen minutes, Remnants of a Dying Star is exactly what it needs to be at the right time; slow cooking, taking all the elements that make the album great and melding them into an amalgamation of all the great parts of the album, set into an epic, cinematic scope, complete with the greatest efforts on the album, and a massive chorus to boot. It might not be a Keeper of the Seven Keys, but as far as symphonic epics go, it’s among the greatest beasts yet. You’d think the album would end on the epic - and it would have been a great close - but Damnation Angels instead pull a sneaky on ya. Closing track then is A Sum of Our Parts; a ballad-esque cinematic feature which brings all the emotive weight and takes the album full circle. It lands an atypical and effective few minutes to close the album, coming right after the thirteen minute epic. In the end, Fiber of Our Being is a great album, the band’s strongest yet and among the best of 2020 in its genre; meticulously crafted with passion for the art and the subject matter, much like its theme it proves to be more than a sum of its parts.
Standout tracks: Railrunner, Fiber of Our Being, Remnants of a Dying Star, A Sum of Our Parts