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Damian Wilson  - Built For Fighting

Damian Wilson - Built For Fighting

Label : Black Lace Records | Archive under alternative / pop

Release type: Full-length CD

Vera : Of course we all know Damian Wilson as captivating, heartfelt front man of Threshold and Headspace. On top of that he impresses crowds with Maiden UniteD. However, in addition the man also has a solo career, even though that one mostly remains in the shadows of his band activities. We had the opportunity to watch him live in that quality during ProgPower 2013. Now there is a fourth solo album of this English bard, more than ten years after the previous one and it is called ‘Built For Fighting’.

As solo artist, Wilson mainly exposes himself as singer-songwriter and his compact compositions can be labeled as pop-rock or melodic rock. Consequently do not expect fervent heaviness to support the majestic voice of the man, but tastefully rendered entertainment and sophisticated music. Those who support him are top notch artists; among them Adam Wakeman (Ozzy, Black Sabbath) on keyboards, guitarists Bill Shanley (Ray Davies) and Brian Willoughby (The Strawbs) plus bassist Lee Pomeroy (ELO). An important function as musician and producer is preserved for Andrew Holdsworth. Strings add a symphonic zest to the more introvert songs. I am a bit surprised by the mainstream standard of this record. It is not disappointing, yet it really sounds sleek and polished, appealing to a broad audience. The single ‘Thrill Me’ is a fetching example of that. And that is how Wilson will keep on wandering between storytelling singer-songwriter tunes and sensitive ballads with velvet vocals such as ‘Impossible’, ‘Fire’, ‘What Have We Done’ (even with backing vocals with a smooth American feel) and the message of peace in ‘Battlelines’. The main theme in the lyrics – as usual worth your further investigation – is protest against war and what we do to our planet earth. On the other side we have a couple of smooth rock songs with quite a more fervent timbre, like ‘Sex & Vanilla’, ‘Can’t Heal War’ (riff reminds me of ‘Ohio’ from CSN&Y) and the up-tempo classic rock of ‘All I Need’. Remarkable is the choice for a cover of Depeche Mode ‘Somebody’. The acoustic ‘Written In Anger’ happens to be a proper protest song in pure Bob Dylan style and in the calm ‘I Won’t Blame Life’ we hear a beautiful bluesy guitar solo. It all sounds a bit cultivated and smooth, but in the end this disc – which is finalized at the Fascination Street Studios (mix and mastering) – appears to be a very professional record for the aficionados of thoughtful rock with contemplative lyrics. Recordings took place in five different studios in Dublin, Tilburg and London. A cosmopolitan happening which supports a cosmopolitan theme…

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