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The new project/band from maestro and master songsmith Guy Manning, Damenek, is certainly worth a place in anybody’s collection. Being a long time ‘Manning’ fan, I’m not quite sure how to shape this review of the forthcoming masterpiece. Is it different? Definitely YES. Why is it different? Not sure! There are still the signature layers of melody, rhythm and splendid lyrics, there are still Guy’s deep resonant and passionate vocals, so what is it? The production is superb, a full sound, more ‘rock’ than previous incarnations, maybe. Tell you what, let’s forget the whole, what Guy did before scenario here! Let’s start again. New band Damenek hit the rails running with the superb debut On Track. Powerful and melodic rock with progressive undertones and, at times, overtones. Powerful opener Nanabohzo And The Rainbow is a great place to start. Great guitar, keys, changing rhythms and textures.
There are numerous different moods and sounds throughout the album, it is quite a journey from beginning to end, taking in numerous points around the world. Long Time Shadow Falls is a gentler but no less intense track, subtle keyboards interwoven with thoughtful guitar and ‘flute’. All blended together and held in check by Guy Manning’s vocals. Cosmic Score is one of those annoying but delightful tracks that lodges in the memory very quickly and has you, well me at least, whistling the chorus over and over. As always there is a little ‘light relief’, the mood and feeling of ‘Big Parade’ brings a smile to the face, (anybody remember Bloody Holiday?), but I think the message here is a little more serious, but that is up to the listener. Dark Sun is just an amazing, absorbing, simply marvellous, (sorry had to use it somewhere), modern progressive rock track. Intense at the beginning but you can feel the track building and, sure enough, it explodes into life. Not some much with a crash and a bang, big guitar sound knocking you off your feet straight away, but it gets there. Your then led through a jazz, blues, rock, prog, call it what you will passage of interwoven melodies back into a more, I want to say ‘sombre’ but it isn’t quite right, more thoughtful, but no less intense final third. In a nutshell. Simply marvellous. A fantastic ‘cast’ joining the main band members, Guy Manning, Marek Arnold, Dan Mash and Sean Timms, including, Nick Magnus, Luke Machin and Phideaux to name but three, all contribute to a stunning debut. Fans of previous Guy Manning masterpieces will not be disappointed so long as they accept that Guy has ‘moved on’ from Manning and has re-invented his music, everything that we love and admire is still there, he has just done it a little differently. Paul Baker Soundscapes Read more on User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply.

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