Review Summary: Dendura’s debut album shows some creativity, but that’s about it.
Eastern melodies aren’t exactly new in the metal scene. Bands like Lacuna Coil, Nile, Ra, and Epica have no problem implementing the cultural tendencies. You’d think there would be no way to improve on the formula, but then the progressive metal Dendura comes in. Channeling inspiration from Aziza’s Egyptian ancestry, (the lead singer is half-Egyptian) Dendura creates a highly unique album that’s more like an EP then an album. With only eight songs, it’s a lousy way to advertise a new band with their first release. The cool album cover, however, captures the spirit of the Egyptian underworld rising again in an epic matter. Whether or not you believe in an ancient badass religion is beside the point, although you have to admit that Anubis looks freakishly cool. Either way, Dendura can’t possibly compare to Egyptian gods in stature, but they do hit their good notes… sometimes.
Whenever the band takes on what they’re best at (which are Egyptian melodies) they can seem interesting and possibly fresh. In ‘Isis’, Dendura creates a song so Egyptian, you could swear you were riding on a camel through some vast desert. ‘Isis’ really is the perfect song for the band, but then there are a few others. ‘I, Nephthys’ mixes a quiet almost post-rock verse with a brash memorable chorus, while ‘Mummified’ is the most epic and progressive song off the album. The slapping bass guitar is an excellent choice for this type of music, and the almost tribal drumming helps the band’s purpose. This may all seem exciting at first but then you listen closer.
I don’t know if Dendura has a metronome, but they definitely could have used it. There are many times in the album when the drums, or guitarists, or the lead singer are completely out of synch. Casual music listeners might not care or even notice, but drummers like myself will cringe and quickly stomp on whatever record they’re listening to. Other problems, like Aziza’s often out of touch voice, hinder the listening experience. If they didn’t record this album by themselves it might not have sucked, and man, does this suck. As of now, they have songs that could potentially be good, but with their unique style all over the map I can imagine them having creative disputes in the very near future.
Ultimately this is no way to make a debut album. If they shortened the amount of songs and called it an EP it would have made a lot more sense. Also, all musicians should know that if you want to make an album you should make it perfect. They didn’t do that, obviously, so you can tell that they’re a struggling band. Also, since they shouldn’t have released this album at all, it seems like a desperate plea for recognition or money. Thankfully, a new album is in the works. The album was meant to be distributed through Killzone Records, but they weren’t able to finish it. If Dendura buckles down, their next album could be much better. As for now, this album should be considered an EP and only that.