Bringer Of Light

SKU: MASCD0803
Label:
Massacre Records
Category:
Power Metal
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I can't remember a buzz on a band's debut since Circus Maximus.  Perhaps due to the album being released in Japan a year ago and its unavailability elsewhere, maybe because they are lined up to play ProgPowerUSA.  Whatever the reason the album finally gets a wide debut and it was worth the wait.  Damnation Angels is a British symphonic metal band fronted by a Norwegian singer.  He goes by the name PelleK and was a contestant on Norway's version of X Factor.  The band's stock in trade is epic sounding metal that pays a huge debt to Kamelot.  The instrumental passages take on the grandeur and scope of Nightwish.  PelleK does a sold job out front - he's obviously listened to a Khan quite a bit.  Highly recommended.

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  • Its been quite a long time since we've heard from Magic Pie.  They went through lots of trials and tribulations getting this album finished but now its finally arrived.  If you are not familiar with this band here's the deal: Magic Pie are a Norwegian band with a retro 70s sound.  The music is a bit of a high wire act balancing the neo-prog sounds of The Flower Kings with the heavier elements of classic Uriah Heep.  They also seem to be the darlings of Rosfest having played there multiple times."It's hard to believe it's been 10 years since these proggers from Norway released their promising debut "Motions of Desire". At that time, their music struck me as an enthusiastic combination of classic prog and classic hard rock. (Think Deep Purple for the hard rock side of that equation.) At their best, they offered memorable passages and pieces that sounded like they very well could have been long lost recordings from many years ago. At their worst, they sometimes fell short of filling the big shoes of the legendary bands whose music they strove to emulate. That's actually not bad for a debut album from a new prog band. I found much to like and looked forward to hearing from them again in the future.Checking back in on them a decade later, I must say that I am very impressed with how they have developed and matured. No longer do I get the feeling that certain sections of songs are direct homages to any particular band from any one particular decade of prog's illustrious history. Their influences, while still very present and valid, are now more varied, including a greater percentage of modern reference points. More importantly, their influences are just that--merely influences rather than templates or even primary reference points.The sound quality on "King for a Day" is superb thanks in large part to the enlistment of sonic genius Rich Mouser (whose resume includes similar work for prominent contemporaries like Spock's Beard, Transatlantic and Dream Theater).Keyboardist Erling Hananger is an excellent addition to Magic Pie's recipe. His keyboard parts are expressive, dynamic and integral to the music. When appropriate, his leads seamlessly blend, harmonize, and work synergistically with electric guitar.The lyrics have a melodramatic and somewhat tragic flair this time around, but this is prog so you should be accustomed to the musical ride including a few tragic tales from time to time by now, right?OK ' so it's time for the "magic" question... A decade after their debut album, how has my impression of Magic Pie changed?On "King for a Day", I now hear a band which has found "its own voice", one that resonates confidently in the space somewhere between classic arena rock of yesteryear (on prog-steroids of course) and modern melodic prog of the 21st Century (like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings). Add a few dashes of modern prog-metal to taste and you, my friend, have baked up a very nice confection indeed... MAGIC PIE!If you love modern prog anthems with big harmonies and 'sing along' choruses, give "King for a Day" a listen! I'm glad I did!" - ProgArchives
    $15.00
  • Kingfisher Sky is a new Dutch ensemble put together by former Within Temptation drummer Ivar De Graaf along with classically trained vocalist Judith Rijnveld. Ivar left Within Temptation to pursue other musical interests. His collaboration with Judith produced a brilliant debut that encompasses progressive rock, gothic metal and mystical Celtic themes. At times the music bears some similarities to the more mainstream direction that Within Temptation went with their latest release, but the music has more of a prog rock feel. There is a heaviness that permeates the album due to the background of the rhythm section (bassist Eric Hoogendoorn was in Orphanage) but despite the crunch of the guitars it never quite crosses over into metal. Judith's vocals are simply amazing - she sings with incredible control and range - somewhere between Sharon Den Adel and Christina Booth. This is not hyper-complex prog. It relies on moods created by the vocals and writing. The moodiness of the ballads evokes Kate Bush, Tori Amos, Peter Gabriel which the more agressive tunes suggest Porcupine Tree, Within Temptation and even Pink Floyd. For my particular taste this is a different kind of album that pushes the right buttons. If it was a bit heavier we'd probably be referring to it as a metal album but it's not (I do love that crunch though). The band's label is trying hard to not ride the Within Temptation connection too heavily, hoping that the band's music will stand on its own - it does and then some. Having said that it's impossible to deny the musical connection. Highest recommendation! Kingfisher Sky on Myspace
    $6.00
  • "Riot has always been ahead of the curve, be it their powerful riff machine, or their unapologetic status as pioneers in the speed metal genre. I would like to take an opportunity to differ once again with the common viewpoint here, this is not “almost” Painkiller 2 years before; it is its doppelganger, at least in terms of kick ass aggressiveness and image. It is a more musical and complex answer to the thrash genre that it fathered; its spirit is that of a triumphant warrior cutting down its foes. While the heroic Painkiller soared through the sky putting fear into the hearts of his enemies, Thundersteel’s half-cyborg/half-tank body stood tall to face them on the ground.In 1988 metal was mostly known by its image, and if you judge these guys by that alone, they look like the bastard sons of Motley Crue and Judas Priest. But when Tony Moore blasts his high banshee voice into the microphone, he sounds like a crazed Viking Berserker ready to behead an army of frightened Romans. Mark Reale, the only remaining originator of this outfit, wields his guitar like a battle axe and challenges the likes of K.K. Downing, Dave Murray and Ross the Boss. Bobby Jarzombek, who is well known for his work with Rob Halford’s solo project, as well as several other bands, gives the performance of his life on here. Don Van Stavern keeps the bottom end solid and has a wicked bass intro in “Johnny’s Back”.There is never a dull moment on this album, from start to finish it grabs you by the throat and commands you to praise the Gods of Metal. Be it the fast as hell title track, which rivals anything Judas Priest has ever put out, or the more moderated Deep Purple riff monster “Sign of the Crimson Storm”, it screams metal. You’ve got an anthem of rebellion and non-conformity at warp speed like “Johnny’s Back” in the running, or the Manowar inspired heavy ballad “Bloodstreets”, which gives Heart of Steel a run for its money. “Fight or Fall” and “Flight of the Warrior” have memorable choruses and plenty of amazing lead work, all done by the original speed metal riff man Mark Reale, while “On Wings of Eagles” is a better produced version of something you might find on Kill Em’ All.We’ve got two highlights on this album, both of which are a good bit different than the lion’s share of speed driven songs on here. “Run for your life” is an upper mid-tempo crusher with tons of great lead guitar work, but it’s true charm is the chorus, which reminds me a bit of the high/low vocal interchanges that you hear on Dio’s early material. “Buried Alive (The Tell Tale Heart)” is actually a bit reminiscent of Crimson Glory’s work on Transcendence, which came out the same year that this did. You’ve got a rather odd spoken intro with a clean and somber guitar line, followed by some brilliant twin guitar soloing (all done by one guy, just the same way Tony Iommi did it). After 3 minutes of mind-blowing, we get a slow and evil sounding groove that grows into a brilliant homage to the NWOBHM, names like Iron Maiden and Angel Witch come to mind.In conclusion, this is a piece of metal history that demands to be listened to. If you are a power metal fan who lives for speed and melody, get your tight jeans wearing ass to the store right now. If you’re a holdover from the glory days of traditional metal and you don’t have it, get it now or risk having your credentials as a metal head questioned. If you love thrash with attitude, this gives the bands that carry that label a run for their money. Fans of Judas Priest, Manowar, Helloween, Running Wild, and Iron Maiden in particular will love this. There is a new power alive in the distance, carrying a fully charged plasma cannon, followed by an army of true metal warriors, and his name is “Thundersteel”." - Metal Archives
    $7.00
  • This is the classic album where the band began to define their progressive sound. Deluxe digipak reissue features 2 new bonus tracks recorded in 2010 by Jon Oliva.
    $15.00
  • Ritchie Blackmore's renaissance inspired folk project featuring his wife Candice Knight on vocals.
    $14.00
  • Grotesk is the third album from this French trio. Their two previous albums brought them world wide acclaim for their intriguing amalgam of jazz and metal fused together with a strong dose of Zappa-esque humor. Mörglbl was born in 1996 after noted guitarist Christophe Godin decided to form an instrumental fusion rock band. After meeting Jean Pierre Frelezeau (drums) and Ivan Rougny (bass), they decided to work together on the project. In 1997, Morglbl’s first cd named “Ze Mörglbl Trio!!” (IHL) was released and received good reactions from the French press. The band toured intensively in France, placing Christophe as one of France’s top guitar players. In 1999, the band’s second album “Bienvenue a Mörglbl Land” (IHL) was released. The band toured Europe, and Christophe started working as ambassador for Laney Amps, Vigier Guitars, Zoom Effects and Alvarez acoustic guitars. In 2000, Mörglbl disbanded, and Christophe released one cd with metal band GNO (“Trash Deluxe” Janvier Rec.), and became a worldwide in demand clinician. Ivan toured with fusion guitarist Cyril Achard and Y. Malmsteen’s drummer Mike Terrana, as well as rai star Cheb Bilal. In 2004, Christophe started his first solo project, named Metal Kartoon, and asked Jean Pierre and Ivan to be part of the band. The cd was released in 2005 (“Christophe Godin’s Metal Kartoon” Nocturne) and did pretty well in France. Christophe toured intensively (Germany, Italy, China, South Korea, USA, UK). He also released one cd and toured Europe with jazz guitar legend Pierrejean Gaucher (“2G” Nocturne) After hitting the road regularly with Metal Kartoon, Mörglbl regrouped and started working on new material. They recorded their newest cd “Grotesk” and toured Russia, Italy, Germany, Holland, USA as well as France of course, where their popularity rapidly grew after the news of their reunion spread. Christophe is going to be co-headliner of Tokyo Shred Fest in November, part of his next Asian Tour (China, South Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore) as Laney ambassador. With the release of Grotesk, Mörglbl has created an album with cross genre appeal. Fans of shred and fusion Gods like Allan Holdsworth, Steve Vai or Freak Kitchen’s Mattias IA Eklundh will find much to sink their teeth into. Morglbl on Myspace
    $13.00
  • "Iced Earth are going through a bit of a renaissance period at the moment. While they do have many hardcore fans who would defend their back catalogue to the end, honestly the heavy metal titans haven’t made a truly exciting album in about twenty years; that is, they hadn’t, until the release of 2011’s Dystopia. After two decades of putting out stale and generally uninteresting meat and potatoes heavy metal, finally they had an album that managed to match up to their first few records, one with the power and energy to justify their continued status as metal heroes. Plagues of Babylon is its follow-up, and thankfully they have managed to take this momentum forward and release another great album.Opening with the title track’s marching drum beat (strangely similar to Dystopia in that regard) and ominous harmonized leads, as soon as the heavy, chugging main riff kicks in it’s clear that this album is going to be a worthy successor. Noticeably, the production is very good, giving the guitars a sharp razor edge that albums like the totally flat The Glorious Burden lacked. Mainman Jon Schaffer churns out some of the best riffs in his career on this album, especially on the raging and thrashy Democide. Some new blood is brought in with an all new rhythm section, bassist Luke Appleton helping give the album its low-end crunch while drummer Raphael Saini (who was sadly since left) punctuates the songs with intricate tom patterns and ride cymbal work while maintaining a constant driving power. Stu Block meanwhile, who debuted as vocalist on Dystopia, continues to make sure that fan favourite Matt Barlow is not missed too much, his gruff voice helping give the songs a darker edge while his highs are utilised when appropriate, never being over-used.This is hardly perfect though. Plagues is a bit front-loaded, the second half never quite managing to match up to the first, especially considering it contains two somewhat unnecessary covers. The first is Spirit of the Times by Sons of Liberty, a Jon Schaffer side project, and you can’t help but question the logic in covering your own material, especially as aside from the darker and heavier overtones it’s not massively different from the original. The second, Highwayman by Jimmy Webb, is hardly electrifying either.That said, many of the problems that plagued previous Iced Earth efforts no longer show up. The obligatory cheesy metal ballad only appears once in If I Could See You, which is one of the better ones they’ve done, and only a couple of songs have a clean guitar intro, unlike on The Dark Saga where they appear on nearly every song. Iced Earth are a band who are at their best when they’re firing on all cylinders, and that is largely what they stick to here. With it’s almost death metal cover art, Plagues is for the most part a balls-out thrill ride, and honestly might be Iced Earth’s most complete work to date." - Sound And Motion Magazine
    $12.00
  • Collector's Edition of the band's fourth album comes with a 16 page booklet with lyrics, sleeve notes, 5 bonus tracks.
    $14.00
  • Numbered limited edition hybrid SACD of this late 80s Rush title.  The key here is in the mastering.  Kevin Gray is at the controls and he does a consistently great job.  I would expect this to be the definitive digital edition.
    $27.00
  • This 2CD is perhaps the band's crowning achievement. You can even perceive this to be their "Lamb" so to speak. Extremely ambitious work firmly implanted in the neo-prog style but with lots of cool intricacies. Peter Nicholls and Co. take it to the next level on this one.
    $16.00
  • "After several years' absence with members going off in their own various directions, Echolyn returned with a new offering. Cowboy Poems Free shows a decidedly more straightforward sound than their earlier days, while retaining the layered harmonies and often intricate phrasing for which the band is known. In many ways, this album strikes me as a worthy modern-day successor to The Band's work, a promenade of the American mythos part past and present, an examination that seems at once both of a particular time and universal. "Texas Dust" is a powerhouse of an opener. Brett Kull's plaintive, everyman voice is the perfect harness for this tale of live-by-the-day Texas farmers trying to eke out a living while at the mercy of nature. From the forceful, offbeat main riff that drives the tune, to Kull's final awe-engulfed cry "the wind came on," this is my favorite track of the album. Ray Weston, now taking over bass duties for the band, provides vocals ranging from the Prohibition-defying, hedonistic "Swingin' the Ax" to the loneliness of "1729 Broadway" (if I recall correctly, the lyrics to this one are adapted from an actual letter of an ancestor). "High as Pride," seems to point the way towards the band's next release, Mei. A sharp observation here from Kull: "At 18 our convictions are hills on which we look/At 45 they're caves into which we hide." The band takes one easy target liberty: urbane yuppie types in "Gray Flannel Suits," which is probably the least of the tracks, though I do like the line about "martini glasses that shimmer all weekend." Apart from that, this is pretty compelling music throughout, and the lyrics are consistently top-notch. Like Mei, well worth a listen." - Ground And Sky
    $14.00
  • "Progressive rock and boy-band pop seem like natural enemies at first. The former's fascination with ornate, elongated passages of finger-exhausting musicianship is in almost every way the opposite of the latter's emphasis on catchiness first; it's hard to imagine turn-of-the-millennium hits like "Bye Bye Bye" with extended guitar and keyboard solos. Yet ever since A Doorway to Summer, their 2005 debut, Moon Safari has put to rest the notion that progressive-minded songwriters can't make pop that's as hook-driven as it is ostentatious. Grandiloquent epics like "Other Half of the Sky," from the 2008 double album Blomljud, weave together widescreen arrangements with the band's signature five-part vocal harmony, a feature unmatched by few groups in any genre, anywhere. It's easy to isolate the audience with solipsistic soloing and obtuse orchestrations, but from day one Moon Safari has made prog that—assuming the layperson were more amenable to songs that run upwards of thirty minutes—could lead them to something like a pop crossover hit.But while the union of hook-heavy vocal interplay and '70's prog stylistics gives Moon Safari an unmistakable, unique sound, it also handicapped them in a significant way for their first two LPs. The group's accessibility on A Doorway to Summer and Blomljud, along with its technical prowess, is unassailable, but the high-fructose sweetness of its style leads to a diabetic rush when stretched out onto songs that span ten to thirty minutes. For example, "Other Half of the Sky," the titanic thirty minute showstopper off of Blomljud, has so many memorable hooks that by the time it's run its time out, it's hard to remember all of them. The classic problem of "too many voices leads to a noisy room" was the defining problem of Moon Safari's otherwise enjoyable sound for some time. All that changed, however, in 2010 with the release of Lover's End.It is no exaggeration—even as the decade remains young—to say that Lover's End is one of the finest progressive rock records of the '00's. Hell, it's not even crazy to say that it's one of the finest pop albums of the '00s; anyone, even those turned off by prog's eccentricities, can find something to love on this mellifluous collection of songs. From the a cappella charm of "Southern Belle" to the hook-loaded "New York City Summergirl," Lover's End is chock full of goodness from beginning to end. What explains its genius is that in contrast to A Doorway to Summer and Blomljud, the songs are given exactly the amount of space they need, and not a second more. Some songwriters may feel hamstrung by the verse/chorus structure, but it's a perfect fit for Moon Safari's joyous approach to music.With their newest studio outing, Himlabacken, Vol. 1, Moon Safari continue the refining of their sound, and while this isn't the breakthrough that Lover's End was, it nonetheless attests to the brilliance of this group. Whereas the latter was bound by a loose concept (love and heartbreak), Himlabacken Vol. 1 is less a lyrics album than its predecessor. The cost of this is that the music is less distinct in its cohesiveness, but there are no shortage of catchy passages and amped-up solos. "Mega Moon" comes off as a tribute to musical theatre, with "The Very Model of A Modern Major General" vocal delivery interweaving with Queen-esque bombast to an impressive effect. "Too Young to Say Goodbye" sees and matches the polyharmonic beauty of "Lover's End (Part One)." By sticking to concise song formats—the longest cut here runs nine and a half minutes—Moon Safari ensures that things never run out of steam, an essential quality to any good progressive rock band.If nothing else, Himlabacken, Vol. 1 proves that there's one thing Moon Safari can't be accused of: being unaware of themselves. Grand finale "Sugar Band" is as much a statement of identity as it is a slice of epic pop: "Sweet and saccharine are we," they declare, followed by "syrup's the blood in our veins." (Less successful is the clumsy Katy Perry innuendo of, "suck our big candy canes," which is thematically consistent but tonally off.) Both "Sugar Band" and "Little Man," one of the few Moon Safari songs to feature a solo vocal, are emblematic of the mushiness that might turn some prog fans away from their music. The latter, while obviously a touching document of a father's love for his son, does feel a bit out of place in how deeply personal it is; part of the strength of this group's sonic is the universality of its pop appeal, and the intimacy behind "My Little Man" makes listening to it an almost voyeuristic experience. "Mega Moon" and "Sugar Band" are better at capturing the convivial spirit of the band that's accessible to all.As with past outings, even those drawn to vocal harmonies might find it hard to stomach all of the sweetness of Himlabacken, Vol. 1. But what ultimately makes this LP successful is its unpretentious commitment to fun. Moon Safari are a rare collective that prove daunting musical chops aren't anathema to accessibility, and with Himlabacken, Vol. 1 they've made a recording that, while not the magnum opus that Lover's End was, is as true a capturing of their ethos as there could ever be. Sating a sweet tooth brings to mind the phrase "guilty pleasure," but there's no guilt involved with music as first-class as this. Who knew being in a boy band could sound so classy? " - Sea Of Tranquility
    $16.00
  • Their last album from 1991. Another one in Century Media's series of reissues of long lost classics from the defunct Combat label.
    $8.00
  • New album featuring Mike Mangini replacing the thought-to-be-irreplaceable Mike Portnoy on drums. No changes in direction - still the prog metal leaders that other bands follow. This is the special edition that comes with a bonus DVD featuring the 60 minute documentary encapsulating the band's hunt for a new drummer - with videos of the try-out sessions.
    $18.00