Riffmeister Jimmy Durkin is back! The brainchild behind Dark Angel's masterpieces „We have arrived“, „Darkness descends“ and „Leave Scars“ has just released his first longplayer with his current band Dreams of Damnation. „Epic Tales of Vengeance“ features 7 studio tracks (identical to the 2006 CD-only release) plus four exclusive live tracks only featured on the vinyl edition (limited to 500 copies on red vinyl, HRR 022/FEM 003). Dreams of Damnation's first release goes back to 1992, a limited edition three-track 7" single, followed by 2000's CD EP called „Let the Violence begin“. However, the new album „Epic Tales of Vengeance“ is the real deal, varying between old school Thrash („The Bloodletting“ or „Kill for Peace“) and more modern songs in the direction of Arch Enemy („Beyond Salvation“), complete with female vocals by Loana dP Valencia.
Jim Durkin left Dark Angel around 1989: „We were not making any real money at the time and I was married and needed to make rent and car payments etc. I had to get on with my life, so I really could not afford to stay on the road anymore.“ Is it fair to view Dreams of Damnation as a direct follow-up to Dark Angel though? Jim voices his doubts: „Only in the sense that it's me playing Thrash after Dark Angel. Even though I left the band I never (!) stopped playing or making music. I always (!) had songs laying around. Dreams of Damnation is a bit more brutal than Dark Angel. I mean, yeah, I did write 99% of the Dark Angel songs since 1983 when I founded the band with Robbie Yahn and Don Doty ... before Gene joined. And then with Gene in the band I found a great writing partner and friend. And the rest is history. We wrote everything together, Gene and I. It was our baby. Of course the other guys chipped in some ideas here and there. But for the most part it was he and I locked up in a room somewhere writing. Then we'd show the songs to the rest of the band. Both bands are Thrash Metal but totally different.“ It is a small wonder that the current live set of Dreams of Damnation does indeed include some old Dark Angel classics such as „Perish in Flames“, „Merciless Death“, „Burning of Sodom“ and the mighty „We have arrived“.
According to Jim Durkin, the material on „Epic Tales of Vengeance“ is closer to old school Thrash like Dark Angel than newer bands in the vein of Arch Enemy: „I would have to say old school ... I mean Loana and Angela have strong brutal voices and they are both beautiful women. But the comparison stops there. As far as our music goes we are old school Thrash ... We don't down tune our guitars. The riffs are Thrash style and could fit on any 80's era Thrash album.
In my humble opinion anyway. Now... I am friends with many of these newer bands like Arch Enemy, The Haunted, Witchery, and I do love their music. But you are more likely to find an old Slayer or Destruction or Sodom CD in my player! I've never played any other style than Thrash. It's all I know. I would love to do a traditional Metal album someday! I'm a huge fan of bands like Tank and Saxon.“
Matthias Mader (Iron Pages)