CD Title: In Flight
Label: Giant Electric Pea (2018)
Rating: It’s a Solid Sophomore Release!
Here we go with the sophomore release from the prog combo known as Damanek. The name is made up of letters from the three key founding members: Dan Mash, Guy Manning and Marek Arnold who once again deliver sixty minutes of melodic-prog with their own unique approach to the genre. Consisting of eight mostly longish compositions there is a wide range of musical influences on display underneath the musical surface. There’s a bit of jazz, a bit of blues, a healthy dose of East Asian sounds, a bit of this and a bit of that. It all comes together quite nicely displaying the perquisite elements of musical drama, lyrical melodies, sonic dynamics and instrumental gymnastics. Damanek avoid the “heavy guitars” in favor of a more traditional prog sound-style that once again bears some similarity to bands like Supertramp. That includes the regular appearance of reeds and woodwinds. The songs themselves are complex enough, shifting from one musical motif to another seamlessly, buoyed by Manning’s melodic vocal lines. The last three tracks, “Big Eastern” parts 1 to 3 add up to a near thirty-minute closing epic and it does all the right stuff to engage prog fans. My first impressions were that these tunes weren’t always as strong as those on the first release, and yet the more I listened, the more I found things to like. Perhaps what brought me around were the stirring melodies of the closing track: “Big Eastern Part 3 – A Life in Chinatown” [7:04]. It’s a very captivating closer to a fine set of tunes. Maybe not quite as strong as their first release, but certainly not far behind. Recommended.