Dendura – New Life – 3.5/5
Egyptian themed folk metal bands seem like something of a rarity, and that’s a shame as it can often lead to a vastly different sound, one which has yet to really be explored. Enter Dendura, a progressive folk metal band that reminds me at times more of ‘To-Mera’ than the rest of their folk metal kin, who have come up with a good stab at delving into uncommon territory, and have emerged with pretty good results.
Their greatest strength is undoubtedly the instrumentation. Each musician knows their craft and can be heard in the end result. The bass succeeds in adding a depth, working with the rhythm guitar in an interesting, if largely simplistic manner. The drums are most impressive here, as the manner each track unfolds involves a number of changes in pace, in aggression, doom like atmosphere and in each change the drums prove pivotal in easing the transition, time and time again successfully ‘smoothing it out’ so that it doesn’t feel disjointed. Constantly providing variety without being overpowering, they do more than is required of them which is not commonly found. The lead guitars whilst certainly have their moments, the solo for ‘shadowman,’ or the intro for ‘Isis,’ for example, however they all too often feel a bit redundant, performing below what they are capable of.
The vocals here, they really are an odd brand. Raw, aggressive and emotional they sound uniquely ‘punkish,’ sounding more shouted at times than sung but what they lack in conventional beauty they make up for by simply being unique. Oddly breathy and thick, they present a plentiful range of coherent tones to draw you in. Unfortunately, they are likely to be one of the aspects that, given their presence, are likely to make or break your enjoyment of them.
The production too, is a problem to overcome, sounding rather amateurish, like an incredibly long demo tape than a full length release. Whilst I enjoy the raw tone preserved, and the clarity of the instruments, it all feels like its missing a coat of polish, something to make it a bit shinier, and constitutes a major drawback.
If it weren’t for these issues, it would have undoubtedly scored higher. This is a band with plenty of idea’s, a talented line-up, and have successfully made something from it. There is the potential here for the makings of a fresh sound in the folk metal genre, but this effort falls just short of the mark.
Highlights: I Have a Gun, Rage, Shadowman