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Black & Damned - Heavenly Creatures Award winner

Black & Damned
Heavenly Creatures
by Kevin Lewis at 15 February 2021, 9:52 AM

Germany has a new Power Metal act that is exactly what we needed to help get us out of the funk that was the year 2020. Formed during the lockdown, BLACK & DAMNED have emerged with a fantastic record that is seasoned and polished despite being a debut. While the primary genre may be Power, there is a lot of outside influence here. There are elements of Symphonic and straight forward Heavy Metal in here as well. "Heavenly Creatures" was released on January 29, 2021 through Rock Of Angels Records.

This record starts with a bang. A quick drumroll, a couple of guitar tones, then a ripper of a riff that sets the pace for the record. “Salvation” is a worthy lead off song. With a couple of tempo changes and some cool shifts in rhythm, the song is complex, yet catchy. It’s not Progressive, but it is impressive. This song sets the stage for the rest of the record as well, showing off the musicianship and compositional talent this group possesses.

Born Again" is one of those tunes that is just fun to listen to. The drum beat and the bass rhythm just cruise along, filling up the space and driving the guitars relentlessly. We see some more really good guitar work throughout, especially in the solos. The layered vocals in the chorus add depth to the song. This is another example of good songwriting.

The Wardress” starts with an Asian sounding guitar section, quickly followed by another really good riff that sets up the song for success. There is a keyboard lurking under parts of this song that gives it the little bit of symphonic attitude. Then, the keyboards come to the front and it is right back to the Power Metal core, which is where this band excels.

The requisite Power Ballad is next. “War Is Just Another Word For Hell” has that slow burn intro that you know will lead to an awesome chorus that just soars over the rest of the song. And the chorus does not disappoint. The theme, in the aftermath of war, there is nothing left but the scars and suffering, or Hell. To the victor go the spoils, to the losers comes torment. This song paints the picture of the side we rarely hear about. Oh, and the horn section adds a dimension that sends chills down the spine. The mark of a truly great power ballad!

One of the fastest songs on the record is "The World Bleed,” another song that just sprints along, taking us on a fast-paced rollercoaster of a ride. The drummer spends a decent amount of time riding his cymbals and pounding out a furious beat that is matched by the bass with relative ease. The bridge sees the rhythm section hang back for a minute while the guitars do some interesting work, then they come back and finish the song off adroitly.

Wrapping up this magnum opus is the title track, “Heavenly Creatures”. Starting out slow, it builds up, drops back off and soars again. There is a keyboard tone in this song that really reminds me of "Mr. Crowley," by OZZY OSBOURNE. It is not a copy, just has that feel to it. Since I love hearing keyboards used like that, I am perfectly happy with that nod to the old school.

BLACK & DAMNED absolutely do not sound like a band putting out their first record. This is a group of experienced musicians who came together and created a really good debut album. It hits all the hallmarks of good Power Metal: dual guitar attack, rhythm section to die for, keyboards to fill the spaces in between and the required ballad. It is well recorded, produced and mixed. I hope this is just the first of many to come!

Songwriting:  9
Musicianship:  10
Memorability:  9
Production:  9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Salvation
2. Liquid Suicide
3. Born Again
4. The Wardress
5. War Is Just Another Word For Hell
6. A Whisper In The Dark
7. The 13th Sign
8. Decide On Your Destiny (CD Exclusive Track)
9. The World Bleed
10. Dreams To Stay Alive (CD Exclusive Track)
11. We Are Warriors
12. Heavenly Creatures
Lineup:
Roland “Bobbes” Seidel – Vocals/Growling
Ali Gözübüyük – Bass
Axel Winkler – Drums
Michael Vetter – Guitar
Aki Reissmann – Guitar
Guest Musicians:
Tommy Laasch – Backing Vocals (ex-CHINCHILLA)
Axel Mackenrott – Keys & Samples (MASTERPLAN)
Record Label: Rock of Angels Records
     


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Edited 05 March 2021
 

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