Dawn Of Destiny – Praying To The World
Dawn Of Destiny
Praying To The World
Long one of my favorite female fronted metal bands, German power metal quartet (quintet? I can never keep this straight) Dawn Of Destiny has very quietly released their much anticipated follow-up to Human Fragility. In fact, I very nearly missed it altogether! Since the band last graced the scene with their presence, lead singer Tanja Maul has departed, with Jeanette Scherff making her debut with the band (and she is a very acceptable replacement, in fact at first I didn’t even notice the difference), as well as a new drummer claiming his place upon the sweaty throne- and getting right to work.
All in all, this is quite the same style of smartly melodic power metal, blended with graceful and attractive female vocals, that has always attracted me to the band. Songs like the infectious “Miracles” and opener “My Life Lies In Ruins” show off the same mastery of melodic blending and almost soothing choruses that the band placed on display for Rebellion In Heaven, but newfound elements of harshness have found there way into Dawn Of Destiny’s sound. To this effect, a full half of the songs on Praying To The World feature harsh male vocals in support of the otherwise bright and generally accessible sound of the album.
Thus begins my criticism. To be blunt- these harsh vocals are not very good. I’m always up for an appropriately placed howl, scream, or roar, but whoever is tackling these duties on Praying To The World is either very new at it, or doesn’t have the strength to properly pull them off without sounding like retching and/or background noise. I suppose I ought to get used to the stereotypical (dare I say “trendy?”) use of death vocals in female-fronted metal, but most of the time, the formula just doesn’t work for me. Then again, there isn’t a great deal of female-fronted metal that is potent and striking enough to capture my attention- which doubles my frustration when one of my favorite artists in the field fouls themselves a bit with the practice. It’s not all bad though: “Beast Human” is a rare track where I feel that the harshness complements Scherff’s voice rather than hindering it. However, the finest dark track on the album altogether must go to “My Four Walls”, with its murky, creeping approach that is coupled with some great melodies and a good story (and there’s no harsh vocals to muck it up!).
Secondly, we have the overall length of the album. No song is really too long, but around “Bleeding Me”, I figured the band was running out of steam and about ready to call it quits. Traditionally, this is a flaw for Dawn Of Destiny, and it is no less present on Praying To The World. Past albums have stretched to fourteen or fifteen tracks, and spill out over an hour long, and while I’m always a fan of hearing plenty of original material, it is undeniable that in most cases (especially non-progressive and non-concept albums), listeners begin to lose interest the longer that an album goes on. Even as a veteran listener to many long-winded albums, I found my interest waning fast on repeated spins. Now, let it be known that I did start the cd at “One Last Word” a couple of time before looping back to the opener, and it’s not my imagination- the album is also a bit top-heavy. The possible exception being “This Aching Heart”, and definitely the closing title track, which is excellent!
It is with some trepidation then, that I judge this to be Dawn Of Destiny’s weakest album since their debut. However, with the respective strength of Rebellion In Heaven and Human Fragility, there is no shame included for the band. The promo material for this release claims that the album has a very dark atmosphere (well, that’s somewhat true, in places), as well as an aggressive showing of death and thrash metal (not really either, aside from the vocals), but this doesn’t really describe the overall feeling very well, as the band manages something a bit more complex. I feel that with new members, a new sound wiggled its way into the mix, and while much of Dawn Of Destiny’s formula is the same, the consistency isn’t there, and the high points are a bit fewer and further between. That said, and for all of my criticism, this is still a very respectable effort from a talented artist, and I recommend it with eagerness to any and all old fans of the band- as well as regular listeners of power metal. It may even bring a few of the gothic-tinged symphonic heavy/power listeners closer to the shining land of power metal.
Dan’s Rating: 3.5 out of 5