Haunted by Destiny – “Aria for an Angel”


HauntedByDestiny_cover_1_112Whenever someone mentions a hard rock band from Sweden, my thoughts initially turn to Blindside, which means any others have some fairly high expectations to live up to.  Haunted by Destiny, have released their debut album Aria for an Angel on Sweden’s Doolitle Group, which is home to other hard rock/power metal bands such as Benesser, Black Rose, and ReinXeed.

Haunted by Destiny has its roots in the eastern Swedish city of Norrköping, which is a ways south of Stockholm for those looking for some context.  Initially, the band began with drummer Christian Gardenfuhr and guitarist Johan Söderhielmhas getting together to make some music.  Singer Evelina Eliasson was the next to join the band and soon new songs were being written and demos recorded.  Along the way the band added  Marcus K Johansson on bass  and guitarist Simon Weston to complete the lineup and create the full band.  With this lineup, the band recorded and the Aria ep at PPP Recordings with Peter “PP” Samuelsson.  With the success of the ep, the band began playing shows wherever they could and established a bit of a local following.  For their debut full length album,t he band went back to PPP Recording and this time added eight new tracks to the four from the ep to give Aria for an Angel.

One thing to keep in mind with Haunted by Destiny is that this is not a metal band and this is not a metal album.  This is radio-friendly, commercial hard rock, that at times veers close to pop.  Of course the opening of songs like “Healthy Girl,” “Follow,” and “Stand My Ground” may lead one to think differently for a bit but then songs like “Freakshow,” “ Gravity,”  “Someone to Die For” and “Aria for an Angel” really emphasize the point that is not metal and may be pushing the definition of hard rock.  I bring this up as one’s expectations can really bias this review if you’re not careful.

“Healthy Girl” opens up the album and with an intricate guitar riff being joined by a rumbling, driving riff that carries through much of the song.  Starting off an album like this one with one of the heavier songs is a bit of a risk as fans of some of the softer songs may think this one is a bit too strong, but then again, the band does have a video for this song as well, so it does make sense.  Driving, fast guitars drive this song and the bright, exceptionally clean vocals of Evelina Eliasson really change the overall tone of the song.  For that matter, Evelina’s vocals really are the most dominant aspect of the sound of Haunted by Destiny.

In one sense, Aria for an Angel reminds me a bit of something like Flyleaf.  There is the at times heavy, hard rock guitar-driven sound that can be taken in a number of directions by the vocal style.  As mentioned, Evelina’s vocals are very bright and almost cheerful sounding  throughout the album, at least in tone, and that keeps even the heavier songs from becoming very dark.  Unfortunately, for me at least, this also takes a bit of the power away from the songs.  The song that really shines for me is the “Healthy Girl”, but unfortunately, the rest on the album seem a bit formulaic for the genre.  Musically from a performance perspective, everything seems too perfect and polished.  There is a lot of talent and some good original songwriting, but the album seems as if it has been almost sanitized, cleaned up to the point where emotion and feeling have been removed.

I encourage anyone interested in radio-friendly hard rock to give Haunted by Destiny a listen, because the musicianship and performances are solid and Evelina’s vocals do add a bit of a different touch to the songs that what one typically expects from the genre.

Rating: 6.5/10

Written by John Jackson

01. Healthy Girl
02. Turning Pages
03. For You
04. Freakshow
05. The Road
06. Gravity
06. Follow
07. Tear (It’s dead)
08. Stand My Ground
09. Someone to die for
10. Secret delight
11. Aria for an angel

Band Members:
Johan Söderhielm-Guitar
Simon Weston-Guitar
Evelina Eliasson-Vocals
Christian Gardefuhr-Drums
Marcus Karlsson-Johansson-Bass

Record Label: Doolittle Group, Sept. 2015

Weblinks: Facebook 

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission

Video for ‘Healthy Girl’

Video for ‘Turning Pages’

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