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Evans and Stokes - Diary Of The Damned

Evans and Stokes
Diary Of The Damned
by Emily Schneider at 04 March 2021, 2:14 PM

EVANS AND STOKES is a two person Christian Metal project. The American/New Zealander duo met on an online songwriter’s forum in 2016 and they meshed musically almost instantly. Their 4th studio album “Diary of the Damned” came out in December and it is full of multiple subgenres of Metal while staying true to their Christian roots lyrically.

The album opens with a setting creator of Psalm 42:9-10 followed by an air raid siren called “Mortal Agony”. It flows to “Into the Badlands”. There’s a cowboy-esque guitar strum as the song begins, creating a wasteland feel for this song about how humans are driving themselves into extinction due to greed and selfishness. There’s a few different style shifts in this song and the riffs and pacing get heavier as the song intensifies. “Overlord” keeps a similar lyrical trend as the last song, but calls for action against the greedy overlords that hold the average person back. This song is Thrash-y, you certainly want to overthrow oppressors when those riffs kick in. Not to mention, Jenny’s vocal style in this remind me so much of the great Doro Pesch! “Demon of the Wood” is a track about debauchery and carnal desires. The riffs are pretty rad, have quite an evil yet alluring melody to them, just as a song about the devil should sound honestly.

Man, Beast, and Creeping Things” kicks off with a METALLICA inspired guitar melody. The signature chuggy style creates a hellish soundscape for this song about evil being cast away from heaven. “The Sorrow” is a lament-fueled ballad about God’s conversation with Noah about creating the ark before the great flood.

Eternal Punishment” is one of the longer tracks on the album. It has a haunting vocal bit and some sorrowful piano. Then a heavy, distorted riff kicks in, creating the scene of “judgment day” or The Rapture. The music paints the lyrics really well; for example, the acoustics take on this dancing rain effect when the ‘eternal rains’ are mentioned. “Army of the Dead” is a cool, pure Metal track. “Breath of Life” has lyrics that seem totally different from the crazy heavy music happening around them. I was trying to figure out if this song is a devotional or about some sort of uprising. I was into it anyway. “Dawn Ascending” is undeniably a devotional track, mainly about having faith through the battles of life (although in this song’s case, it felt like a pretty intense physical battle with the hefty amount of pure shred throughout!)

A Child of Light” felt like a venting session about society and about how they find solace is through their faith. The fast, angry riffs felt a bit melodramatic in this particular track. “In Dreams” is the epic track of the album. The song starts with a dreamy guitar melody and Jenny channels a Stevie Nicks vocal style for a bit. The song picks up a bit with a faster pace and some almost space-agey keys are added to the mix. This song is mainly about the ultimate dream of the world being in pure harmony and bliss, what more could any of us ask for than that? “Deep Calls to Deep” is the closing devotional with a flowing piano melody and some lovely orchestration.

Overall, “Diary of the Damned” was a surprisingly heavy album. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from a two person Christian Metal project, but I was not expecting it to be Classic Metal and Thrash for most of it. It was a pleasant surprise that worked well for many of the songs. There were a few tracks that I felt were a bit strange and some of the songs didn’t mesh with the lyrics whatsoever. Not to mention, the Biblical aspects became preachy rather than inspiring in a couple of the songs. The concept was pretty good for most of it though and this album does retell stories from The Bible in some unexpected headbang-worthy ways.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Mortal Agony
2. Into the Badlands
3. Overlord
4. Demon of the Wood
5. Man, Beast, and Creeping Things
6. The Sorrow
7. Eternal Punishment
8. Army of the Dead
9. Breath of Life
10.  Dawn Ascending
11. A Child of Light
12. In Dreams
13. Deep Calls to Deep
Lineup:
John Evans- Guitars, Bass, Keys, Drums
Jenny Stokes- Piano, Lyrics, Vocals
Record Label: Independent
     


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Edited 11 April 2021
 

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