A good voice, an well composed melody or the overall mood of a song may surprise you, and sometimes a band manages to deliver an album full of that. The self title debut of Light Damage, is such an album.
When I play it, this album grabs my attention from the first second.
The opener Eden, starts with a guitar and tubular bells ticking away like a clock, before building up into a guitar driven instrumental that only stops to make room for a vocal part. Here, the first hint of vocal harmonies appears – promising more for the rest of the album. The track builds up to another crescendo that seamlessly connects to the next track Empty.
Right after the start of Empty, the band quiets down, to allow singer Nicholas-John to sing the opening verse. After that, the band builds up a great heavy progressive rock sound, ending in a guitar and keyboards taking turn soloing, leaving the final note to the organ that was wailing underneath all the time.
The master piece of the album is the mini epic The Supper of Cyprianus. Here Nicholas- John guides us through the story of this supper, that turns from a feat into the execution on the spot of a girl, convicted of being a witch. Luckily for all, she returns as an angel in the end. Well worked out keyboard melodies and guitar solos by Stephane Lecocq support the changing mood of the story from beginning to end.
After this story, we go straight to Heaven, another track that builds up gradually, this time with a key role for the rhythm guitar, which at times is almost metal like.
The short instrumental F.H.B. (For Helpful Buddies) may be dedicated to people helping the band, but I found nothing to confirm that. It’s features a plucked guitar and keyboard under a melodic guitar solo. Short, and uncomplicated, it is the least grabbing track of the album.
After this, Touched proves easily to be the heaviest track of the album, with a lot of guitar and interesting, less obvious keyboard melodies.
Light Damage has, by other reviewers, been compared to Sylvan, Pendragon and IQ, but also Marillion. I’ll avoid further comparisons, and prefer to think of Light Damage’s music as rooted in 70s progressive rock and later neo-progressive rock, where keyboard melodies and heavy guitar work support well executed vocal work. Nicholas-John has a very slight French accent, which leads to unexpected pronunciation in some places, but it works out very nicely.
A promising debut!
(also published on ProgArchives.com)