Dandelium – The Last Awakening

Dandelium – The Last Awakening – 3.5/5

An album that has been I’ve had snucked away for a while now, it is one that I had difficulties placing into any specific genre; certainly symphonic in nature, it feels neither overtly neo-classical in nature, nor does it feel suited to the term ‘rock,’ but rather an odd progressive blend of the two. Performed by the one Spaniard (though he has now recruited a full line-up), it is slightly reminiscent of the delicate tones found in the likes of ‘Nightwish,’ but with the absence of any form of vocalist the comparison finds itself abruptly coming to a halt, the focus instead firmly on the instrumentation, carefully worked to harmonise with one another.

The drums form the main backing layer, present through all but the softest of the piano passages, produced entirely by programming they maintain the beat of the track without ever being too heavily in focus, and the result is one that works remarkably well. Complemented by an unusually prominent bass, it forms a core rhythm for many of the passages, providing a multitude of deeply distorted riffs, maintaining a backing riff for the guitars to work from, or acting more prominently where the guitars are absent.

The guitars too are worked well to add to the sound produced, providing their own riffs and maintaining the flow of the track as it unfolds. Despite this, the keyboards clearly take most of the spotlight, performing far more than simple chord sequences, adding bombastic classical tones, delicately melodic passages and addictive riffs. Often layering piano harmonies over string tones, they show an excellent variety of pace and styles, even if perhaps they at times seem to overuse the strings.

The result is certainly an intriguing one, and certainly shows promise for the future, but all too often gets lost with the other tracks. There is a lack of distinguishing features on many tracks, the techno feel to ‘The Last Awakening’ or the emotional and majestic tones in ‘Life Will Go On,’ exemplifying what this artist capable of offering, but there simply isn’t enough ideas presented to sustain its unique tone. With a full line-up (including a soprano vocalist I believe), needless to say I’m intrigued to discover what the future has in store for them. Those with an interest in symphonic or classical music, not afraid of a plentiful amount of hard rock guitar tones may find much to enjoy here.

Highlights: Bleeding Ascension, The Last Awakening, Life Will Go On, Soul Hunter