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Review: Damien Deadson – A Warm And Dark Embrace

28 October 2011

A Warm and Dark Embrace vehemently attacks from the get-go…”

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Artist Name: Damien Deadson
Album Name: A Warm and Dark Embrace
Year: 2012
Genre: Groove Metal/Progressive Metal
Label: Independent

Ryan Helm, current Demon Hunter rhythm guitarist and former growler/guitarist of The Ascendicate, is gearing up to release his solo album, A Warm and Dark Embrace, under the moniker of Damien Deadson. Musically and lyrically heavier than Ryan’s previous work with the mentioned bands (but by no means a complete departure), A Warm and Dark Embrace vehemently attacks from the get-go, fusing progressive elements (Ryan himself says that this release has a lot of polyrhythms and syncopation, but is no Meshuggah) with groove-orientated riffs, signature Helm throat vocals, pulverising drums and enough melodic sections to keep the harmony freaks happier than LiLo in Colombia. Apart from the last track, ‘The Burning Sorrows Part 2 – Liberation’, which is the biggest musical departure from the rest of the album and a far quieter number, there isn’t really a single moment where Ryan takes his hand off the throttle, keeping the metal fast, heavy and moshpit inciting with throwdown power tracks like ‘Power Soak’, ‘Patterns of Progress’ and ‘Righteous Pursuit of Revenge’. Ryan might be more renowned for his heavy vocals and crunching riffs, but he has also proven to have the ability to squeeze out the melody, both on guitar and his clean singing, when called for (the chorus of ‘The Nothing’, for example, is a remarkable show of his melodic capabilities). Another particular highlight, maybe even a nostalgic sound byte, is the simultaneous growls and clean vocals in the chorus of ‘Challenges of Change’, which brings back memories of the finer moments from The Ascendicate’s To Die As Kings. Overall, A Warm and Dark Embrace is more progressive than his previous work, yet still possesses enough of his musical DNA (plus a slight hint of Fear Factory) to appeal to his original fan base – and perhaps an even wider audience now. Check it out.

Best Tracks: ‘The Nothing’, ‘Challenges of Change’ and ‘Patterns of Progress’

81/100

- Sergio Pereira