Reviews - D
SEASON OF MIST RECORDS
From the first song, it's plain this bunch from France loves four bands: Pantera, Sepultura, Fear Factory, and Machine Head. The guitar is chunky, chuggy and the vocals definitely in the Chaos A.D./Cavalera style. For this reason, it has not yet evolved enough to find its own sound. There's some electronica in the background and clear vocals, making it pretty trendy for the younger audience not too familiar with the group's influences.
DAMN THE MACHINE - S/T
The leader of this band is Chris Poland. The man most well known for his out-of-this- world guitar work/solos on MEGADETHS legendary "Peace Sells..." release. D.T.M, however is far from being thrashy band. This is most similar to the sound of a guitar hero who plays real songs within the context of traditional heavy metal. There's plenty of cool solos and riffs here, but it's not indulging. Like I said before, this is not thrashy at all. Hardly any double bass drumming is found here, no aggressive screaming, just singing. Most people reading this probably will not like this release because it is not heavy enough for them, but the more adventurous among you might find this release to be a good breather between your CANNIBAL C. and AUTOPSY.
DAMNATION - DESTRUCTO EVANGELIA
Featuring members of Entombed, Merciless and Unanimated, this black metal album is surprisingly tight, raw and varied (within reason). The basic Venom/Bathory/Motorhead styled guitar work sounds, as expected, simple. The surprise is that it sounds vibrant, not tired. The rawness is not ruined by a garage/punk sound, instead it is basic but upfront and strong. The vocals sound like old Venom/Sodom, not the screechy/annoying screaming. I think these vocals can appeal to both black and death people. Also, a lot of the time the speed of this thing is blasting.They cover Bathory's "Armageddon". It sounds good. When this album gets to the end, I feel like pressing "play" again. I would not have believed that these people could do something like this, but it's great to be proven wrong. It’s certainly more interesting than their full-time bands.
DARK DISCIPLE: UNHOLY HATE GORE
The cookie monster attacks again! This time it's in the form of Dark Disciple: major chugga-chugga/breakdown "riffing", some seriously awful toilet vomit growling, and monotonous, un-tight blasting. All the songs sound the same! Well, no, I should be honest: the songs don't all sound the same because the horror movie samples are different and they also don't always use the same curse words in the same order in every song. So, yes, the songs are different, you see!
DARK MOOR - BEYOND THE SEA
Spain's Dark Moor has been around a while now and they are known for solid, melodic power metal. This time is no different: all the songs are packed with melody and power metal. The vocals are high, so keep that in mind. These songs probably get the traditional metal crowds singing along at the shows. It would be unfair to ask these bands to be completely original, I think. Sure, there's plenty of Iron Maiden and Helloween influence, but Dark Moor has its own sound. Do keep in mind that this is not that thrashy, it's melodic, not that heavy, but traditional.
DARK THRONE - "TOTAL DEATH"
"Earth's Last Picture" started this newest release by one of the best known black metal bands in the scene. After the first few songs, I was very happy to hear that this album wasn't an album built for speed and pointless noise. The songs aren't played at light speed like the previous. These 8 tracks are definitely a sound of the past. What I mean by this, is that those who love "A Blaze In the Northern Sky", will really get into this. It has that same cold feeling that "A Blaze..." has. For those of you who care, Zephyrous has left the band. I'm sure those of you who care already know this, but just in case. I recommend this to all, especially if you did not like the previous.
DARK TRANQUILLITY: CHARACTER
The message is clear from the very first moment: "The New Build" opens the proceedings with blasting (yes, blasting) and thrashing like a bunch of young guys eager to create a powerful album like "The Gallery". The guitars are less down-tuned, in my opinion, than "Damage Done". The result is a crisp, sharper, thrashier feel that will have "The Gallery" fans smiling like fools. Overall, Dark Tranquillity has gone for a thrashy affair that keeps the electronics way in the background, which results in a more energetic mood, but still with the catchiness the band is known for. After some five spins the album begins to get even better than the initial feeling of relief that things are as they should be. That's right, not all the boys from Sweden have been listening to Linkin Park! Dark Tranquillity--interestingly enough!--has been listening to. Dark Tranquillity. Sometimes "stubbornness" is a good thing.
DAYLIGHT DIES - Dismantling Devotion
The focus of these eight compositions, lasting more than 50 minutes in total, is general somberness. These requiems, to their advantage, are not so slow, but run at a steady, middle course highlighting the band's vision of melancholy and despondency shrouded in dark melodies. The tracks are carried by pleasantly gray, easy to recall notes; the drumming keeps active company to the guitar; the vocals, despite being "growled," though not wrathfully, are appropriate and fit the funereal aesthetic (occasional clean singing appears). This is probably the form of deathly doom with the widest appeal due to mid-paced and still gloomily song-orientation.
DEADBIRD - THE HEAD AND THE HEART
This band will destroy your hearing! This cd is ruining my cd player! I don’t know how they recorded this, but whenever I put this thing on, the reverb is so bad, so distorted, it's actually quite similar to a live concert when you stand next to the speakers (and you're not wearing ear protection). It's difficult to hear anything clearly because it all just sounds like gigantic buzzing. Deadbird's music is thick and massively heavy, the guitar work is totally inspired by Black Sabbath "Master of Reality"-style of guitar sound and riffs; thick. Another reference point is bands like High on Fire and the other Relapse Records bands that specialize in that superdoom/stoner rock with screamed, semi-growled vocals. In addition, the band has quiet, acoustic-sounding moments to go along with the superheavy, plodding sounds. Now, if you want to know whether they are better than this or that band, I cannot help you because I'm no aficionado of superstoner/doom rock, but I do think this is solid, strong stuff. The Sabbath-y riffing is superb, but the vocals are screamed, sort of slow growling, which may or may not matter to people.
DEADHOLE - Curse of the Ghoul
DEMO/ACID VICTIM RECORDS
Sounds like death metal, but this copy is defective. It plays only an instant from song number one. The others don't play.
DEADSOIL: THE VENOM DIVINE
Here we go: one more hardcore band, with the chugga-chugga lame breakdowns, lame stupid screaming, the boring and lazy guitar playing and the usual cursing to prove that they are not homosexuals. If you are tough, become a boxer, and then we'll see how tough you are. Stupid name, stupid white boys, stupid noise.
DEATH - " THE SOUND OF PERSEVERANCE"
Yes folks, Alvin and the Chipmunks are back. Man, I just can not stand Chuck's voice! After "Spiritual Healing", his vocal approach just started getting higher and higher. This effort is no different. I don't know, maybe after a few listens I might get used to it, but for now, the vocals are just to strange for me. What can I say, it's Death. Brutal in their own way, and as always, with class. I wonder how long this lineup will stay together? The song that stood out the most, well to me anyway, is "Painkiller". Yes, a Judas P. cover. I was truly impressed with Chuck's vocals on this song, it was really cool to hear. Anyway, Melody, intelligent lyrics, come on, what can I say? It's Death.
DEATH ANGEL - THE ART OF DYING
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
This is an eclectic comeback of 80’s thrash, punk and rock/blues. "Word to the Wise" is a mellower track. Rob Cavestany (guitars) on vocals turns in a soulful performance. On "Land of Blood" bassist Dennis Pepa "sings" and is nothing special with the macho shouted stuff. On "Spirit" drummer Andy Galeon "sings". His vocals are whiny. The song is faster, mid-paced rock. The riffs are pretty generic, but the speed is supposed to hide that. "No" is straight up punk rock. Mark Osegueda sings here and on all the other tracks. "Thicker than Blood" is also punk; trying to be fast, but sounds a bit weak. Needs more bite. "Thrown to the Wolves" is old-school thrash: energetic, but the guitars sound thin. The drumming is pretty punk, also.
DECEASED - "FEARLESS UN-DEAD MACHINES"
You know, I've been tempted to get this little ditty for a few months now, and now I'm glad I did. These guys seem to be into the same horror stuff that fuels inspiration for a lot of my own fiction that I write. This CD, which boils down to a concept album, is based on the works of a few genius film makers, notably George A. Romero's trilogy "Night of the Living Dead", "Dawn of the Dead", and "Day of the Dead", and if you need to ask who he is, just put the shotgun in your mouth now for wasting our air, 'kay? Also, Lucio Fulci, who brought us a great epic of sheer blood shlock in "Zombie". Along with a few other films mentioned, the basic ingredients are thrown into a blender and mixed up into a tasty little hell-broth about the premise of corpses coming back to life to feed on the flesh and blood of the living. How cool can you get here?!? The effort starts off with a sample from "Night..." with the reporter talking about the "unburied dead returning to life and seeking out living victims" and slams you right between the eyes with opener "The Silent Creature". I just want to take a moment here to congratulate vocalist/drummer King Fowley (who also handles keyboards) on his visual and emotional lyrics. Track 2 is pretty much a spoken word song, but when you listen to it, you can just imagine hordes of rotting corpses shambling up the street towards your house, howling in half-dead agony and sheer hunger. The whole album is captivating in both lyrics and music, and it's a sad thing to say, but a lot of acts can only do one or the other and do it well. Of course, C.C. can't do either (I know Mike, I know!). King's vocals remind me a lot of a certain metal vocalist who also plays bass in a three-piece band who sings about a lot of that nifty devil stuff and Countesses of Bathorys and it sounds very convincing here as well. I'm not sure if he is influenced by Cronos, but it's pretty near identical. Yet somehow, he manages more of an homage than a rip-off, which is hard to do. Haven't heard too many Glen D. clones since he put his last album of....whatever. What the hell was he thinking? Asshole! Eight years of fandom and I get a NIN knock-off? At least the Misfits are still gods! Er, sorry about going off like that, I just can't help it sometimes. One thing I love about the sound of Deceased here is their style of old-school death metal. Fans of early Death and possessed just might get a kick out of this musically- technical yet heavy and fast at times band. They've been around for a while, but if you're new to this band, pick this one up first, you won't be disappointed! Just don't answer the clawing at the door, if it smells like something funky, don't answer it! It just might be your uncle Louis, fresh from the slab! A definite must have album!
DEFINE DIVINE - S/T
Depending on your taste, music can sound like the work of a genius, a moron or a weirdo. Sometimes some bands just sound positively weird. To me, this band sounds pretty strange. I don't know if they are genius or just plain annoying. I find that this band just annoys me at times. Hint: I don't like music that annoys me. Then, there are moments that I can tell this band is trying to be creative, but I'm not feeling it. Here's my general impression: within the context of a song this band will have tribal-sounding music, then it will sound like stoner rock uncontrollably pushing towards nu- metal territory, soon the song just sounds tripped out and spacy. That's just the music. The vocals can be angry screaming, then stoner rock clean vocals, then processed voices through special effects and the like.
DEMONOID: RIDERS OF THE APOCALYPSE
This is a side project from Therion. The music on here is pretty traditional metal, which combines thrash/power riffing with some death metal riffing and guttural, growled vocals. The guitar work is pretty crisp and clear, not too downtuned. The songs are not generic and this is certainly not bad by any stretch of the imagination. However, I don't take this project too seriously because, for one thing, this does not sound like people who are giving it their all. It does sound like a project, even though it's a decent project with catchy songs.
DEMONS & WIZARDS - TOUCHED BY THE CRIMSON KING
Since the man singing here is Blind Guardian's Hansi Kürsch and the man playing guitars is Iced Earth's Jon Schaffer, this does sound like a combination of both bands, but still different. Morrisound studios owner Jim Morris plays the guitar solos on this album, while Bobby Jarzombek is behind the drum kit. One thing is for sure, though, the Jon Schaffer riff is in full force here: you know, the riding-on-horseback, galloping thrashy riff. Some people have complained that the Jon Schaffer riff is too repetitive. All I can tell you is that this is Jon playing like Jon plays. On the other hand, there are plenty of calmer, acoustic-sounding, ballad-y moments. Jim Morris' guitar solos do sound Pink Floyd-ish and melodic. They give the album another important element. What about Hansi's singing? Hansi sounds like Hansi: good, sort of gritty, traditional metal singing. They cover a piece called "Immigrant Song" by some unheard-of blues-rock band called Led Zeppelin.
DEPRESY - "A SIGHTING"
Another band from Slovakia these guys are filled with so much talent I can't help but be impressed. They call theirselves "Spritual Death Metal" and to me thats definately accurate. This album and their previous "A Grand Magnificance" are both excellent, a perfect combination of brutality, guitar harmonies, and utter musical sadness combined with deep and screaming vocals. Very emotional music from these guys from overseas, I recommend this highly to any fan of intricate Death Metal music, this band deserves recognition.
Rogue (Special thanks to Martin "Shindy" Brzobohaty of Shindy Productions in Slovakia for sending me this album, thanks a million dude!!)
DESCEND / ALL THAT IS EVIL - SPLIT RELEASE
Cutting Edge Records
These Cleveland, Ohio bands both offer four songs apiece mainly in the death metal vein. Descend have a little sicker sounding attack to their tracks which include "Unseen", "Visions to Come" and "To Infinity we Shall Fall". All That Is Evil have a more straight forward approach. Songs include; "Peril at Sea", "I am Wolf" and "Her Only Wish". Both bands are pretty good, but nothing really new to be heard here.
6.5 - Graveworm
DESIRE - "INFINITY... A TIMELESS JOURNEY THROUGH AN EMOTIONAL DREAM"
SKY FALL RECORDS
One day, I decided to go to this underground metal shop 4 hours away from where I live, and boy, was it ever a mistake. Let me just say that I had just received a new credit card with a limit of $1.000! Any way, when I was looking through the CD, I gazed upon a CD and couldn't read the name of the band. When I saw the cover, a woman holding a crow by the ocean, and when I finally saw the bands name, I said to myself, "Hmmm...I bet this is going to be a depressing band." So I bought it. To my surprise, it was very doomy. The songs are really long, imagine that, and pretty atmospheric. The songs are put like chapters in a book. Chapter 1, prologue - chapter 7, epilogue. 3 of the songs are over 10 min. long which at times drug out, but not because they became boring, I'm just a bit impatient with this style of music sometimes. For example, it took me probably 20 listens before "Forest Of Equilibrium" became well know to me. I am yet to engulf the entire "sadness" of this disc. but I will comment on it from what I know. The vocals range from a deep emotional growl, to a high pitched type growl similar to a black metal vocalists style. To go along with the extreme vocal styles, are some female vocals that are popular in this style of atmospheric and depressing music. Added to the mood are some keyboard segments that are really atmospheric and are used in a great dark matter. Any way, this album is really cool and could probably be used to meditate to. If into the first CATHEDRAL and old MY DYING BRIDE and old PARADISE L., check this out.
SKY FALL RECORDS, RUA ALFREDO GUISADO No 10 - 3o - 1500, LISBOA, PORTUGAL
DESPISED ICON - THE HEALING PROCESS
CENTURY MEDIA RECORDS
This is an effort to get its audience jumping around, moshing and slamming. It says: "Society thinks you are a jackass and a loser for liking this noise. Well, you are a jackass. We, too, are jackasses." This is music for the moshpit because you would be silly if you try to argue that this band actually has "musical" talent. The two vocalists bark like vicious dogs, with cupped-microphone gore vocals; the guitars all about the chugga-chugga breakdowns; that's combined with blastbeats. If when you go to shows, you go to get drunk and act like an idiot (You're not feeling "insulted" are you? Don't get all "dignified" and "proper" now. You're the one that likes Dying Fetus, after all.), this band should make you smile (like an idiot). Yes, they chugga-chugga and breakdown like there's no tomorrow.
DESTRUCTOR - "MAXIMUM DESTRUCTION"
The front of this CD is a portrait of the band members (which is a re-release from back in the "dark ages", har, har.), they look about as cheesy as can be. They look sooo cheesy, in fact, that I automatically assumed they would sound just as bad, and dismissed this CD as crap before I even listened to it. Boy, was I wrong! This album kicked my wimpy girly ass about six ways to Sunday! This is incredibly good, well played, smash- fucking metal!!! I can't believe I have never heard of this band before. I feel like such a dork! In any case, you must get this CD if you claim to be a metal fan, your trueness depends on it, ha, ha! Run to your friendly metal distributor and cough up the bucks for this masterpiece NOW!!
Jaime Gonzales curses like a sailor. Yeah, he's real tough: "Look, ma: I say bad words!!" "Bad, bad boys; bad, bad boys, what you gonna do?, what you gonna do when they come for you?" This is lame hardcore. I can't wait for the day when people stop paying attention to this trendy, trendy garbage. I suppose there some hardcore bands that are ok, like Trivium, but this is so generic.
This Polish death metal band has it together. Their sound is tight, controlled aggression. These guys remind me a little of the first Morbid Angel release. Of course they don't have the creativity of Morbid Angel, but then again who does? The drums are clear, loud, and organized. This gives this band an edge, because whatever is going on, the drums keep it all together. The voice is death metal. Not original, but done well. The guitars simply shred, very professional. There are a few things that will take Devilyn to greater glory: more originality and creativity in the guitar solos and more original vocals. If those 2 things happen, Devilyn will conquer even more.
Lieff is correct by saying that this band isn't original and that they sound like Morbid A. to certain degrees. Well, I agree with the M. A. part, but definitely not from the "Altars of Madness" album. This is a cross between "Domination" and definitely "Covenant". The song "Millennium" is a total rip-off of "Rapture", especially closer to the end of the song. The production, the drum work, some guitar solos, various vocal attacks, etc.. One could have actually been tricked if someone had told them that this was the new Morbid A. after Vincent Pantie wod was dismissed. The thing is, no matter how unoriginal this release is, it is an enjoyable listen. The thing that stood out the most to me was the bass player. It reminded me of Mr. Digiorgio at times, with his funky ass self. Any way, if a fan of brutal death metal ala Morbid A., check this out.
DEW OF NOTHING - "DOUBLEUEIRD"
Dew of Nothing, a technical death metal band from Mexico, who specialize in complex sounds, with plenty of frenzy speed. The sound is great: clear bass, up-front drumming, dyzzing guitar, and the traditional death metal vocals. This is an intense exercise in musicality that will impress with its ability to shred. This is also enjoyable, not just technical. Actually, this is fast death metal, but it's the other elements that make it different. This band combines the best elements of fast death metal, with technical sounds. The one department that could be more original, is the voice, not that it's bad though, just not that original. Where they will go from here? It looks like it can only get up, better, and more exciting!
DIABOLOS RISING - "666"
This release kicks so much ass! Hypnotizing, especially the song, "Vinnum Sabbati". Very gothic sounding with a diabolicos twist. As some of you might know, Magus and Mika are the 2 members in this twisted and psychotic project. This is a lot different than IMPALED N. and NECROMANTIA, not your ordinary sound. So much feeling, dark feeling, is put into this project. "Give Me Blood or Give Me Death" is so fucking atmospheric and is an excellent song. Different moods are put into this song. The beginning, creeping up on you, slowly. When you think it is going to burst into a fast chaotic frenzy or something, it jumps into this atmospheric piece full of keyboards. An excellent piece. Then the ending of the song just feels like your soul is slipping away. Well, that's what it felt like to me. The song is about a vampire. This release is from 1994, and I still want to hear the other releases, but I just bought this last year. Another thing I must note, song #6 is called "666", but there is nothing there! I do not know if all the CD are that way, Hmmmmmm....? For all who enjoy listening to dark and obscure blasphemies, this is a must have!
DIECAST: TEARING DOWN YOUR BLUE SKIES
One thing is obvious; Diecast is one of the better hardcore bands. The guitar work is not all chugga-chugga and they don't spend all their time doing breakdowns. The vocals are not annoying, either. It shows they are trying to do something different with this style, adding clean vocals and melodies. However, this is still only for hardcore fans.
DIO: MASTER OF THE MOON
Fans of traditional hard rock/metal should give this album a listen. At first, I was thinking this is kind of boring, since I'm no fan of this music. After a few listens, however, the songs become more likable, with their mid-paced beat. The vocals are really good and the guitar work, while not world-shattering, does have a charm to it. Just keep in mind that this is more hard rock than metal.
(DIS)FIGURED - "PRELUDE TO DEMENTIA"
New York's Dis-figured are really good at what they do, too bad a lot of other bands do the same. (Broken Hope, Infest Dead, Suffocation, get the point?) They've got more than a few elements of all those bands. Don't get me wrong, they definitely kick ass, it's just nothing you haven't heard before.
DISBELIEF - 66SICK
NUCLEAR BLAST RECORDS
The sound is huge, fat, downtuned and mid-tempo with growled vocals. The vocals are painful growling, unusually oldschool, recalling Death circa Leprosy, early Morgoth or any Obituary release. I imagine that this is music made for the live environment: it has that feel that seeks to get your head bobbing and your body moving. Also, this is actually pretty basic (no big element of keyboards or things like that). The drums, guitars and vocals are really all there is. There is a little bit of spoken-like vocals, some singing, but this is by far growling-dominated. The music is dark, and as already mentioned, has a fat sound. Beneath the thick guitars, there is a dry-melodic riff running throughout. Personally, I find this particular type of vocals to be excellent and flawless, as I adore that Death-Morgoth-Obituary growling. On the other hand, I dislike the chug-dominant guitar sound of this band. The more melodic guitar parts do work, but the chug doesn't as much. I also don’t care for the simple, breakdown-based drumming.
DISLOCATION - INEXORABLE DEVASTATION
Not fancy: it is difficult to be lavish when the whole purpose of the music is to achieve a mosh-friendly guttural, blasting, chugging death. Even though there is constant blasting happening, the band uses a tiny bit of melody and some breakdowns, as well as little things to make sure the songs are not one-dimensional speed. A love of Suffocation is pretty obvious throughout the album, but more variety in their brutality. However, unlike said band, Dislocation is strictly minor league death. This is a band singing in French, with some English here and there, but it sounds all the same: animal growling with no discernible language. There is really not much to say, except that the band is just keeping it real, guttural and brutal.
DISMEMBER: LIVE BLASPHEMIES (DVD)
This 2-disc release features a concert from 2003 and a second disc with an interview and older live footage. The concert sounds clear and very traditional Swedish death metal, the buzz-saw in full force. The band sounds on. There's classic stuff, like "Dismembered," "Soon to Be Dead," etc., as well as "Hate Campaign," "Casket Garden," and "Misanthropic." The show could be longer because they have more good songs.
The old footage goes back to the really early days, before the debut. The interview is interesting, too. The band goes over some history. It was a good idea to have two discs because just one would have been too short. As it is, it's a nice package. If you have seen Dismember often, then this won't be special, but since most people in the U.S. don't get a chance to see them, this will prove to be useful.
DISSECTION - MAHA KALI
If you buy this, you're paying money for one song. There are two songs: "Maha Kali" and a new version of "Unhallowed". The new song, even though it has a demo production, sounds very promising: Jon Nödtveidt's voice is in top shape, like on the old albums. The guitar work is unmistakable Dissection: dark, twisted, black/death riffing with somber melody running throughout. Jon's growl is excellent black metal and death metal at the same time. His growl is, simply put, among the very best. The remake sounds very good, too. So, do you want to pay for one new song?
DIVINE EMPIRE- "DOOMED TO INHERIT"
When I first heard this band I had one thought: Its a Malevolent Creation clone. After getting this album I didn't expect it to actually in my opinion to be far better than the new Malevolent Creation. Its a much better mix of speed and slow grind than their previous efforts and I definately give it a thumbs up. Deep vocals, good song structures and pummeling, inventive drumming created by Alex Marquez (ex-Malevolent Creation) made this one far better than I expected. Keep going in this direction guys.
DIVINE REGALE -"OCEAN MIND"
Divine Regale play what some people inaccurately call; pompous, egocentric, annoying metal of the Dream Theatre type. The voice is Dream T. like. Real singing, but I think that if you have the ear for it, you will hear a really talented bunch of guys who play complex-catchy music that one could call a modern version of the old Rush sound. Every song stands by itself. This band isn't trying to prove they are metal, the music speaks for itself; clear, professional, musical, complex, progressive metal. These guys music can be appreciated, but you must expand beyond cheesy death metal, otherwise you'll be in totally over your head. Yes, try this and listen well.
DIVINITY DESTROYED - EDEN IN ASHES
SCREAMING FERRET WRECKORDS
This album was recorded in 2002 and it's being released in 2005. In theory, what this band is doing makes no sense. However, when I listen to it, it does make sense. It works. It doesn't matter that the album is barely 30 minutes of music. Well, let's see. Here's a sort of play by play of one song just to show you. "Empty the Sky," song number six. 0:00-:25: quick repetition of catchy melodic metal riff. The keyboards begin to enter and the drums begin to get going, the song takes off. 0: 25-:40: the song is jamming along, in a metal/headbanging speed. The guitar tone is some sort of downtuned/death/thrash. 0:40-:45: the guitar gives way to a thumping, bass-driven beat and soon the singing (clean, clear, but not air-raid siren) begins while the cool, heavy beat is going. Catchy little ditty. At about 1:00 the guitar returns and the rhythm is more, straight metal riffing. You can hear the bass and the keyboards in the background quite clearly. This continues until 1:40 when the song returns to the bass beat and then alternates with the more guitar-y parts until 2:16. Then another bass-driven part comes in while the singing turns into whispering. Then the song seems to end. At 2:40 the song continues with some bass and drum work, helped along by a nice, little guitar ditty. At about 3:20 the guitar breaks into lightning, finger-bleeding guitar solo, then switches the solo to a slower, catchier part. The guitar is kind of singing. 3:50: the song returns to the main, headbanging rhythm and double-bass, frantic speed and the singing breaks into all-out death/black metal growling. The song ends at about 4:05. This may not sound very unusual or great when I describe it. That's simply because I write badly. This band is some sort of metal hybrid with melodic metal/singing and growling with thrashing parts, melancholic, moody, emotional moments. I'm pleasantly surprised and impressed. I thought I was going to hate this band for trying to do too much in a song, but they make it work. It works!
DOMAIN - LAST DAYS OF UTOPIA
LIMB MUSIC PRODUCTS
I could listen to this album for weeks and weeks on end and still enjoy it. This traditional metal band is about melody and mood. Where many heavy/power metal bands choose to play fast for most of the album, this bunch concentrates on the midpaced rhythms, lots of hooks and melodic vocals. To these ears, the vocals sound similar in feel to Edguy, as well as older singers, like Joe Lynn Turner and Glenn Hughes. This band has more in common with 1980s Black Sabbath and 1980s Rainbow than with power metal. Obviously, there is a power metal element going on here, but the speed is not that important here. The first few times I heard this I thought it sounded boring and oldschool. Well, it's traditional, but after a few listens, I got it and I think that this is good, catchy stuff. They have ballads and "The Great Rebellion" has a main riff very similar to Saxon's "Unleash the Beast". It doesn't really matter. They are not claiming to be original. They are good, though.
DOOMTREE - DOWN BELOW
LONG LIVE CRIME RECORDS
The vocals are, if you must know, a bit nasal, and at times, brought to mind Billy Idol and at others, Glen Danzig. The guitar work and solos are simple, as is the drumming, but what drives this rowdy rock & roll is attitude: a dirty, booze, barroom, smoking & drinking type of mentality. The band says that they recorded this in their bedrooms and basements, but it sounds gritty, like it's supposed to be. This is 33.3% punk rock, 33.3% dirty rock and 33.3 % jerks with whom you would not want to be friends with because they would steal your money and your television when you fall asleep.
DRAGONFORCE - SONIC FIRESTORM
The previous "Valley of the Damned" made Dragonforce well known among power metal fans and critics. It was overwhelming in speed, power, catchiness and talent. It sounded fresh and they automatically were put in the same category as the heavy hitters of the genre, such as Helloween, Gamma Ray, Sonata Arctica, Edguy, Lost Horizon and Kamelot. Is this second album great? Yes, absolutely. The tightness of the band is awesome and the sheer speed of their brand of glorious power metal is a pure listening pleasure. The super-fast soloing, the metal singing, the riffing and the drumming is all here again. This time around the band relies on all-out beat-blasting in certain sections and it works very well. Of course, Dragonforce is more than just speed, as the album has lots of melody all over the place, as on "Dawn over a New World". I wish this album were 24-hours long, instead of just one. Power metal haters and metal-corers need stay far away!
DREAMAKER - ENCLOSED
RISE ABOVE RECORDS
Spain's Dreamaker have a lot to offer: memorable songs, variety, punch, crunchy guitar work, energetic drumming and strong singing. The double bass and the punch of the guitars mix very well with Elisa C. Martín's voice. I'm surprised at how much better the album gets with each listen. "Perfect Soul" starts out with a blasting part, which then turns in a double-bass thrash barrage of lower, male vocals alternating with Elisa's gutsy singing. That song is not an oddity, either. The range of songs is something to notice, too, which goes from midpaced heavy metal to thrash. Their sound does not have anything particularly national; it's just punchy power metal. There are many good traditional metal bands that just don't get much press in North America because there's always some trend that people get suckered into, like cheesy rap rock passing off as metal or predictable Pantera clones playing hardcore or whatever.
DROGHEDA -"CELEBRATING FIVE YEARS OF VIOLENCE" / "POGROMIST"
First of all, if I'm not mistaken, Drogheda has said to be anti-mosh grind stuff. But from the times I've seen them live, and from listening to this release, I think some of their songs can actually be very moshable in my opinion. You might have noticed that I also put the "Pogromist" release on the same review, why? There isn't really going to be some long in-depth review to this, because this can be explained in simple words. This is fast/slow grind, that can be enjoyable to listen to if in the right mood. Dual vocal approach is also noticeable and well done. This is alright stuff. The "Celebrating Five..." release is a perfect release to buy if interested in hearing old and new material from this extreme band.
DROGHEDA - S/T
I didn't expect this release to sound like this. I knew it was different sounding than the Drogheda of today, but I wasn't expecting this. This is a totally different sound than the grinding noise that Drogheda is good for. The vocals somewhat reminded me of Aaron from old My Dying B. at times, and on other songs it didn't. The music can vary from slow doomy music with somewhat of a monotonous sound, to a faster song that is also somewhat monotonous. It isn't all that, but some of the songs were alright. If you've heard the most rescent releases of Drogheda, and did not like them, check this one out, you actually might.
DUNGEON - ONE STEP BEYOND
LIMB MUSIC PRODUCTS
"The Power Within" opens the album: double-bass, high scream, loud, victory-drunk heavy metal. The song is a high-energy exercise in metal power. The chorus is melodic and the vocals change pitch to a more subdued mood. The guitar solos are as wanted: shredding bits, harmony bits and working well within the context of the song. The chorus after the solo has another minisolo in the background. "Against the Wind" is supercatchy: opening with a melodic guitar minisolo, then comes the singing while you hear only the bass and drums, then kick in the guitars, a main riff, with a second more melodic layer behind it. The singing and the riffing really, really work here. The guitar solos are good, again, fast bits, melodic bits, and the song begins to head to the end with lots of multi-layered singing. "Surface Tension" sports a near-thrash, stomp, stomp, stomp that has all the main heavy metal moves on display: explosive, fast guitar solo, an strong sense of high energy, midrange vocals with higher parts for the chorus and in-your-face drumming. This is song number seven, but it could have opened the proceedings. The last song, "Under the Cross" has galloping riffs, combined with melodic background guitar layers. The singing here is slightly more melodic, while the song has that triumphant, we-want-to-end-the-album-on-a-high-note feeling. Five minutes into the song appear the guitar solos, some bits fast, other bits nice, metal noodling, and then here comes the "oh-oh-oh"/metal chanting. OK, you get the picture: this band relies on the guitars and singing to create a feeling of triumph and melody. Plenty of near-thrash riffing and double-bass drumming. While not some great revelation, this band is obviously is big on playing the music they love: heavy metal with a sense of victorious feel.