In better than 25 years, singer and songwriter Damian Wilson has had a remarkable and prolific career. Lately known for his work with progressive rock acts Threshold and Headspace, Wilson has also done solo work over the years. Built For Fighting is latest and fourth solo studio album, and once more produced by Andrew Holdsworth.
To be honest at the start, I think Damian Wilson is one of the best singers on the planet. So don't expect some objective unbiased review. It ain't happening.
Wilson's versatility and range, tone and timbre, are well suited for progressive rock and metal to the AOR melodic rock of Built For Fighting. I've liked most everything that he's been a part of, simply because I like listening to his voice. He has a natural melodic sweetness wrapped in inherent passion.
Wilson is also an exceptional songwriter. He writes songs that are dripping with melody, often defined by his voice, acoustic guitar, or piano. Also, his lyrics are usually intelligent and cogent, filled with meaning. With this album, and I'm merely speculating here, his words seem more reflective, perhaps introspective, thoughtful of his life, times, and relationships.
To the songs, as mentioned earlier, they are largely AOR melodic rock, many times within a symphonic wrapper. The album has some variety and some shifts in character. The first five songs are lighter fare dominated by the trio of the piano and acoustic guitar lines with Wilson' voice. Yet, the lead track and first single Thrill Me is a bit more spry and lively, coming off as attractive and radio-friendly power pop. Alternatively, Fire turns almost entirely on voice and piano, wrapped in violin and cello. It's a beautiful piece of music.
Halfway in, beginning with short, catchy and sexy, Sex & Vanilla, Wilson and crew get their groove on again. The song is another punch of power pop. The following Can't Heal War is also a bit more heavy thanks to the sharp riffs. Written In Anger, a song that seems almost autobiographical, becomes more dense and moody from the deeper bottom end, riffage, and generous orchestration. All I Need returns you once more to the brisk riffs and groove of a power rock song. In the end, the album winds down with two quieter songs, I Won't Blame Life and Battlelines. Wrapped in the lightness of acoustic guitar and orchestration, then led by Wilson's voice, both songs have passionate lyrical themes: the former to life and loss in relationships, the latter to the irony of war.
So what's my biased bottom line? I liked everything about Built For Fighting. Damian Wilson is a superb singer who writes exceptional melodic rock songs. His voice is terrific, the music delightful. Get the album. You won't be disappointed in the least.
I liked everything about Built For Fighting. Damian Wilson is a superb singer who writes exceptional melodic rock songs. His voice is terrific, the music delightful. Get the album. You won't be disappointed in the least.
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