Dantalion - Where Fear Is Born
Sleaszy Rider Records
Melodic Doom Metal
7 songs (43' 19")
Release year: 2014
Sleaszy Rider Records
Reviewed by Andy

After a lineup reshuffle, Spanish doomers Dantalion have returned with a slower, more doom-oriented sound than they previously had. Though they're playing slower, it's clear that in their latest offering, Where Fear Is Born, they have lost none of the complexity or focus on heavy riffs that they showed on faster albums such as Return to Deep Lethargy -- and if anything, their songs have gotten more melodic.

The album cover features the modern horror movie staple of a creepy little girl at the top of a flight of stairs in an an old, haunted-looking house, so it makes sense for Revenge of the Cold Night to introduce the first track with that sonic standby for such scenes, an equally creepy music box ditty starting up with eerie wails. The music itself is much more melodic than I expected, a tightly compressed block of guitar riffing and double-kick drumming with a wailing lead climbing all over it. The drumming of co-founder Naemoth is muted and flat in tone, but complex, and between that and the guitars, they somewhat take over the sound; vocalist Diego's death-metal singing isn't particularly striking, but it's not offensive either. Revenge in the Cold Night and Raven's Dawn both have similar tempos and general sound; both are good songs in their own right and provide just the right mix of aggression with the sorrow of the melody to please the listener. They seem to enjoy introducing their songs with a little precursor to the dominant melodic in their song in an acoustic format, such as in The Tree of the Shadows, but I liked this track for Diego's clean singing as well, which added some extra atmosphere. Split with more of his death-style vocals, it reminds one of early Katatonia, or perhaps Dark Tranquility.

Throughout this, the repeated leads wind their way through the songs, and as the album progresses the songs seem to get ever more intricate. Listening to the Suffering of the Wind is even more despairing and grim in melody and sums up the whole sound of this album; there's fast riffing and slow acoustic portions, harsh growling and dull clean chanting. The final track, Black Blood, Red Sky, doesn't have as much variety on there, and if they'd sped this one up I suspect it would have improved quite a bit, but though it's not as good as Listening to the Suffering of the Wind, at least it's not a dud.

Where Fear Is Born is a solid album that makes for decent listening. One isn't going to find anything hugely revolutionary on here, and it would be nice to have some variation between the songs in terms of the song patterns, but aside from that, Dantalion's newest incarnation appears to be pretty good at producing the doomy, melodic sound they were aiming for.

Killing Songs :
Revenge in the Cold Night, The Tree of the Shadows, Listening to the Suffering of the Wind
Andy quoted 78 / 100
Alex quoted 82 / 100
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