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Dawn of Destiny - Praying to the World
CD Reviews
Written by Allyson Kenning   
Saturday, 09 June 2012
Dawn of Destiny CD Review
Praying to the World

Dawn of Destiny - Praying to the World

CD Info
2012
Phonotraxx Publishing / Germany
15 Tracks
English Lyrics

 

Let me start off this review with a big statement: I am a huge Dawn of Destiny fangirl. In fact, I might just possibly be Canada's biggest DoD fangirl. I have adored this band since stumbling across them randomly on Last.fm in 2008. The song I heard on that fateful night was "Lost" from the band's second album, Rebellion in Heaven, and I was at once mesmerized and hooked. Following the band ever since with a similar fervour I follow Nightwish with, DoD is my #2 most played band on Last.fm and my second favourite band after Nightwish. So, yes, this might be a bit of a biased review.

I had been looking forward to the band's fourth release, Praying to the World, for some time, though with a certain amount of trepidation. Just months after DoD released their third album, Human Fragility, Tanja Maul, the band's powerful soprano vocalist, left the band, being replaced with two vocalists, Jeanette Scherff and Monika Wesely. Monika left the line-up sometime later, leaving the female vocals to Jeanette alone. It was obvious from the first few tidbits released on the web containing the new vocalist that Jeanette had a vastly different vocal style and range, and I felt slightly nervous about such a drastic change to DoD's sound.

It turns out that my fears were totally unfounded because, after listening to Praying to the World just once, I believed Jeanette is a wonderful fit with the band's sound and she is a great vocalist. Yes, she is different – almost as much as Anette Olzon is different from Tarja Turunen – but she sounds fantastic on this album and delivers a powerful, evocative performance. She reminds me a bit of Nitte Valo of Battle Beast and her vox brings to mind an old school metal sound without being raspy.

Now that we've got the big elephant in the room dealt with, let's move on to the rest of the album. At 15 tracks (13 regular tracks plus 2 bonus tracks), it's a pretty long CD, but I found it to be a very engaging rollick of an album, so I had no problems with the length. As usualy, DoD serves up good old fashioned but accessible power metal with lots of melody, catchy choruses, and the odd bit of sorrowful string action. We don't get an instrumental into this time, something DoD did with two previous albums, we get an explosion of drums, riffing, and a scream right from pressing play and going into the first track "My Life Lies In Ruins." This blast of bombast sets us up for the entire album, and the song itself, very energetic and dark in lyrical content, introduces the listener to some of the different sounds DoD plays with in this album.

One of these differences is the omnipresence of bassist, composer, and lyricist Jens Faber, who contributes vocals in some form to all the songs on the album, whereas previous he just sang every so often. In this album, he does a variety of death metal growls, clean vocals, and backing vocals. Sometimes this works very well, but sometimes it doesn't. Jens's clean vocals are okay, but one of my criticisms of Praying to the World is that his growling isn't very good. For some reason, I perceive them to be better on previous albums, perhaps because there were fewer of them.

Another difference I noticed on this album is that it's slightly less thrashy than previous works. Though DoD has always been a full-on power metal band, they did have some thrash elements weaving their way through the music, but I noticed on this most recent CD that the thrashiness has been toned down. I'm not complaining about it at all; I'm just making an observation.

There are lots of stand-out songs on the album. "Miracles" is a jumpy, catchy song that initially was available for a free download from the band sometime ago when Monika Wesely was still a member, and the album version is different, but still good. "Place of Mercy", a song that seems to be about escaping the world through the internet, is another great offering with a timely theme. "Bleeding Me" is also very powerful.

But every album has its masterpiece, and on this one I think it's "Misunderstood." It's DoD's longest song to date and after just one play I knew it would go up into my top three favourite DoD songs along with "Rain" (my most played song on Last.fm) and "Lost" (my second most played song on Last.fm). This song has Jeanette at her most emotional and sensitive on the album, and I think it shows off all of Jen's strengths as a songwriter. It has his signature sorrowful lyrics that convey strong emotions with an unparalleled rawness. It has a beautiful, powerful, but simple chorus, and at it ends with a lovely counter melody sung by Jens.

And one last fangirly note here on my favourite element of the music, the lyrics. Jens Faber (who happens to have the same birthday as I do!) is one fantastic lyricist. He's up there with Tuomas Holopainen for me. No one writes lyrics that resonate with me on such a personal level as Tuomas and Jens (okay, well, Sarah Jezebel Deva is up there for me, too), but whereas Tuomas uses a lot of poetry and metaphor to convey his message, Jens is raw and blunt and doesn't sugar coat anything at all. Jens's writing is what makes DoD's music so special to me: he gets stuff. He gets loneliness, he gets rejection, he gets sorrow. He questions the world around him and the motivations of humanity. And he expresses this all so well that I feel understood and less alone myself.

With a super guitarist in Veith Offenbächer and a keyboard whiz in Dirk Raczkiewicz, the talent of Dawn of Destiny is immense. Why this band hasn't been picked up by a major label by now is just a crime if you ask me, and I certainly hope Praying to the World brings them all the good things they deserve.

9.5 / 10

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