DOFKA
"Humanity Bleak"

(World Nations)

01. Tragedy Remains
02. Evocation
03. The Bitter End
04. World On Fire
05. Humanity Bleak
06. Second God
07. Blood Runs Black
08. Immaculate Lie
09. This Sacred Flame
10. 23 Pine Avenue

RATING: 7.5/10

Jim Dofka is known for his shredding guitar prowess, and for taking aeons to get records out. But if you're into the traditional, melodic side of power metal, and you like it with plenty of modern punch and heft, "Humanity Bleak" will more than be worth the wait for you. This is solid American metal with lead-heavy, bone-crunching rhythms and occasional death growls accenting and propelling Andrew D'Cagna's soaring, trad-metal vocals and Dofka's virtuoso soloing.

DOFKA, the band, are at their best when applying the heaviness of a BLACK LABEL SOCIETY or PANTERA, but adding a little bit of prog tempo changes and lead guitar flourish (see the quite excellent "World on Fire", especially the chorus). The result contains equal parts ballsy groove and rarefied brain-food craftsmanship, and the combination is wickedly successful. "Humanity Bleak" makes me think of that time earlier in the 2000's, when the bigger metal labels were putting out fine releases from the likes of ANGEL DUST, TAD MOROSE, LION'S SHARE... the list goes on and on. DOFKA will appeal to fans of any of those bands, and should have no problem adding to their already fervent cult following.

If there was a fault to point out, it's that some of the songs tend to get a bit samey after a while — this could partially be a flaw in the production, or just a batch of too-similar rhythm riffs or vocal melodies. There are plenty of highlights, but there are also a few places where the band seems to go on auto-pilot. Luckily, it doesn't take them long to throw in some of Dofka's impressive shredding, or pick up the pace a little bit, and get back to their "A" game.

Bands don't get much more rock-solid than DOFKA. You know what you're getting with "Humanity Bleak" and you get it by the shovelful, with confidence, prowess, and no apologies. A fist-pounding effort from four guys who bleed straight-up metal, and who are only looking for those of you who do the same.

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