Litham – Dhal Ennar – 3/5
Not often we come to find a "Death Metal" band from "Algeria", but I came to find "Litham" with their 1999 release "Dhal Ennar". One of the things I liked in this album is the use of oriental melodies in the guitars, accompanied by the Arabian singing brought to this album a cool atmosphere, like in the song "El Djamra." They can be seen similar to bands such as "Orphaned Land". To bring the oriental feel to this album, they relied on using only on using only the guitars and drums without introducing oriental instruments such as the "oud". I kind of think it would have been better of they used some of the traditional instruments, since they're not hard to get in "Algeria".
The riffing in this album isn't that technical. It's catchy, simple, and direct with some groove and rhythm to it here and there, like in "Empire of Ebliss" and "Ila Youm Eddine". The solos were probably the best feature on this album. They are a good mix of melody and shred, not to forget the cool sound they bring to this album. The dual work between "Yassine" and "Lamine" is fine, though the song structure needs work. I enjoyed the drums. Some interesting beats are used, like "Ila Youm Eddine", but I think it needed some more fills and contributions. The vocals were done well, ranging from "Corpsegrinder" influenced vocals to "Lindberg's" vocals on "The Red Sky is Ours." The "Algerian" accent in the "Arabic" songs easily grabs our attention. I felt that the bass needed to have more contributions than just playing along in the dark. The lyrics were cool. They were about themes such as "the end" and "judgment day"; half of them were in "Arabic", though I would've appreciated if they wrote them in fluent "Arabic" rather than the "Algerian" dialect and accent. I have to say that the guitar and drum work here reminded me of "The Red Sky is Ours"; they conveyed a similar feeling + a weird feeling that only through listing to any of their material we would understand the word "weird".
Some of the downturns of this album are the equipments used. We can easily know they weren't the best guitars, for example. This is probably because they couldn't get the expensive equipments that majority of the bands use. The guitars sounded amateurish, as if they were a garage band, same thing for the drums. At one point, I think a drum machine was used. The production isn't great either; sure we can hear the instruments and distinguish them, but nothing special. We are able to enjoy the album though. The production on "Seven Churches" wasn't that great, but that doesn't mean many people didn't enjoy it.
I don't think these technical difficulties should stop people from enjoying this album. It's not that hard to get into, heck, I didn't feel the 38:29 albums pass boringly. The band has potential, and with the right equipment and experience they can truly advance. The album is recommended to any wishing to add something different to his/her "Death Metal" collection, and metal collection in general.
Highlights: El Djamra, Ila Youm Eddine, Elixir