Saturday, September 24, 2005

Review: Demonic Symphony - The Awakening (2004)

Demonic Symphony [ Website | MySpace ]
The Awakening

The historic German city of Mainz is home to Demonic Symphony, an up-and-coming melodic metal band that incorporates a significant amount of lightless atmosphere into their style. Having chosen a name that evokes an impression of bleak, icy metal with symphonic elements, the band actually only briefly resembles their moniker. Instead, they treat their listeners to catchy, hook-heavy metal akin to bands such as Whitesnake, Dio, and mid-'80s Heart.

The Awakening, which is the second demo from Demonic Symphony, kicks off with the very catchy "I Owe You Pain". Keyboards play a crucial role in the band's sound, but they are interwoven in such a way as to avoid being distracting or overpowering. On the leadoff track they provide not only a lush atmosphere, but lend to it a bit of a Middle Eastern sound as well. Frontwoman Darlana, who's vocal style resembles in many ways both Lita Ford and Doro Pesch, has a powerful voice and delivers the lyrics with plenty of punch. Her slight accent enhances the Gothic ambiance of the music, adding yet another layer to an already deep composition. "Down On The Road", my favorite track on the demo, draws on the band's '80s influences to give the song a familiar feel while keeping it from sounding dated. The majority of guitarist Tommy Gad's solos on The Awakening are crisp and brief, though well-played. Here, however, Tommy lets loose with a top-notch extended solo that is backed up by some groovy bass lines from Darlana. Definitely one of the high points of the demo. The title track, closing out the demo, is the most Gothic of the disc and finds the bands drifting closest to the image created by their name. Cheerless church bells open the track and give way to blistering riffs from Tommy, to which he sings in a processed voice that sounds nothing short of demonic. Darlana adds only occasional backing vocals on this track, her voice lending a soft melody to contrast with Tommy's growls. An up-tempo burner, "The Awakening" is one of the top tracks on the demo and leaves the listener yearning for more from this young band.

Demonic Symphony relies on exuberant keyboards, chunky riffs, heavy bass, and Darlana's distinctive voice to create their brand of Gothic melodic metal. They've succeeded on all fronts with The Awakening. Fans of this genre of metal will enjoy this demo, and I'm sure the band's next effort as well.

Track Listing
1 I Owe You Pain 4:36
2 Life's a Bitch ... 5:44
3 Down on the Road 5:36
4 Roar with the Thunder 3:20
5 The Awakening 4:40

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