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Metal/Prog Metal CD Reviews

Destiny's End

Transition

Review by Gary Hill

I first came across the band Destiny’s End when I was doing research for my book on Lovecraftian music. H. P. Lovecraft expert S. T. Joshi mentioned them to me. Eventually I got in touch with Perry Grayson (guitarist for the band) and he sent me copies of their CD’s along with his new band Falcon. In the interests of full disclosure, I have over time gotten to be friends (at least email friends) with Grayson, but I assure you that does not influence my words at all when I say that this is an incredibly album for fans of bands like Fates Warning, Iron Maiden, Queensryche and Judas Priest. If I had to pick one over the other, I’d say I prefer this disc to the group’s debut. The thing is they are both pretty awesome.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Transition
Electronic sounds start this, then a robotic voice issues an ultimatum. From there the band launch out in a frantic, edgy jam. This has an epic metal feel to it, but with a thrashing riff as its basis. They move out into a European power-metal chorus, then move out into a new musical exploration. These varying modes represent the bulk of this track, a potent disc opener. There is a break that includes more of the robotic monologue. As they come out of that section the vocals purely soar and this climaxes in a Rob Halford-like scream that’s followed by an equally incendiary guitar solo. As the group launch back into the song proper lines of vocals are punctuated by fiery guitar soloing for a great effect. This ends with another Halford-like scream.
The Watcher
I can’t look at the title of this song without thinking of two things. One is the Marvel Comics character. The other is the song by “Hawkwind.” Well, this has nothing in common with either of those. It is a frantic metal journey that includes some screams injected within that bring to mind early Judas Priest. The overall mode, though is of a more modern metal sound. This is another scorcher and I might say that it’s even better than the one that preceded it. The guitar solo segment here has an odd sort of off-kilter feel to it that is just plain brilliant.
A Passing Phase
The riff that leads this one off reminds me a lot of Iron Maiden. Mind you the delivery isn’t the same, but that riff itself has Maiden written all over it. As it moves into the verse segment we are treated to more killer modern metal with Halford meets Geoff Tate vocals over the top. These guys just don’t let up one bit. They move this one through a series of left turns in a dynamic arrangement that never fails to rock out.
The Suffering
This comes in with a riff, low in the mix at first, gradually rising up. It seems to share a lot of thematic territory with the song that preceded it. The first verse has nearly spoken lyrics and they gradually build this up into a more traditional sound. This one again feels a lot like Iron Maiden, but early Maiden with some definite King Diamond leanings, too. While this track is no slouch I don’t really like it as much as I do the opening tracks. Still, if you are going to throw in a slightly weaker piece (this is not weak by any means, but not as strong as the others) you want to put it in the mid part of the disc – the first two or three and the last ones are the most important to the overall effect of an album. I do like some of the changes on this one, but it just doesn’t grab me the way the earlier ones do. That said, the mellow, balladic segment with spoken vocals later is quite effective. I’m not as convinced by the Maiden-like mellow path it takes from there, though. I’d have to say that fans of modern Maiden, with its more epic progressive tendencies would probably enjoy this one a lot.
From Dust To Life
Drums lead this off and the group quickly launch into another frantic jam. Both Queensryche and Maiden echoes are present here. The guitar purely screams out during several points on this. The Tate-like vocals are extremely effective, too. I like this one a lot. The neo-classically tinged instrumental break is a strong addition here.
Storm Clouds
They slow it down on this one, coming in with an acoustic guitar based balladic approach. This is just the extended introduction, though, and serves to make the pounding metal journey that follows seem all that more powerful and heavy. The structure might not be as complex as some of the other material, but the tone and power is simply incredible. It drops back to the ballad approach later, this time accompanied by vocals, then powers back out from there. Certainly Queensryche and Maiden will come to mind on “Storm Clouds,” too – but while I keep mentioning those bands, it’s to point out similarities, not to say that this is a clone of those groups. Destiny’s End had their own unique sound. They just shared musical territory with some others. This is definitely my runner up for best song on the album.
First You Dream, Then You Die
A more raw guitar sound leads this one off in fast paced frenzy. The band explode out from there in another furious showcase of power. I particularly like the angular riff that makes up the bridge segment. This one will probably call to mind early Maiden in many listeners’ minds. By early I’m talking about the first couple albums. The oddly timed (it almost feels like a martial beat) instrumental segment is an intriguing change up. The more melodic jamming that follows is interesting, too.
The Legend
Drums lead this one off and hold it for a few measures. Then a mean riff enters and they create this piece from that basis. It’s another scorching metallic screamer. There are some complex riffs and prog metal changes present on this composition, too. I really like a few of the left turn segments that come and go throughout. The steadily climbing progression late in the track is definitely one of those.
A Choice of Graves
Here we get another dosage of the band’s trademark frantic metallic fury. This one is good (in fact, right up with the rest of the album) but by this point your neck is starting to get sore from head-banging and it’s beginning to feel a bit too similar. Still, the guitar soloing on this one is especially tasty. The brief ending section is a nice change, too.
Vanished
They saved the best for last with this masterpiece. It was covered in depth in my book; so much of this review is taken from that source. A pretty, but rather dark, acoustic guitar ballad approach begins the cut and it rises upward ever slowly in this manner. This one is extremely evocative and powerful and the layered vocal arrangement is a nice touch. The whole structure of this has a lot of elements of progressive rock, and it’s quite an interesting piece of music. I even hear echoes of Styx’ “Snow Blind” on this. It turns heavier later, but is really one heck of a dramatic ride. They shift it out eventually into a fairly frantic, almost thrashy jam that quite meaty. This instrumental segment includes some very tasty guitar soloing. After a while, though, they move it back down to the more balladic song structures to carry it onward. Honestly, There is quite a bit of the progressive metal school of sound here – think of bands like Fates Warning.
 
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