Several weeks ago, I was in a dry spell musically. I had given up hope on North American music with the exception of a few bands, being Arsis, Lamb of God, and Shadows Fall. After being fed up with most of the current metal acts in the states I began to think that there weren't going to be any more great bands coming out with great releases for a very long time...and then I found...
Dragonlord's Black Wings of Destiny
In case you're not familiar with the band, let me fill you in. Dragonlord is the side project of Testament guitarist Eric Peterson, apparently a project that has been in the works for some time now. The lineup here is most of the current Testament lineup with the addition of Psypheria keyboardist Lyle Livingston. The resulting album, Rapture, is for all intents and purposes a black metal album, as the vocals, keyboards, and song pace is undeniably black, while the guitarwork, unsurprisingly, is more thrash-based. Peterson's vocals are quite good (occasionally Cradle Of Filth-like), and overall this is a very good album, surprisingly genuine (in other words, it doesn't sound like Peterson is just hopping on the black metal bandwagon), and well worth recommending to black metal fans, and probably Testament fans as well. After releasing Rapture this album was brought upon the world, and this has been one of the most promising North American releases I've heard in a long time.
Eric Peterson - vocals/guitars
Steve Smyth - guitars
Derek Ramirez - bass
Lyle Livingston - keyboards
Jon Allen - drums
The album immediately starts off with an epic intro, "The Becoming Of". It's not really much of a song but it gives the album a sense of atmosphere, which is haunting and enraged. Once the band really begins to start playing, I first thought to myself that they sounded a lot like new age Dimmu Borgir. Eric Peterson's vocals are very similar to Shagrath and allow the band to take on their black metal sound. I think that a perfect description of them would be a mixture of Shagrath, Ihsahn from Emperor, and his clean vocals remind me of ICS Vortex from Dimmu Borgir.
Don't mistake these guys for modern Dimmu though, they're much better than that. Their riffs are much more complex and enjoyable, especially on songs like "Revelations" and "Until It Ends". Eric and Steve do a great job of locking in together to create a very tight and powerful guitar section. The riffs aren't so complex that they will blow your mind, but they're certainly technical enough so that they will please most metalheads out there. The two of them also occasionally has some very tasteful and uplifting guitar solos like on the song "Sins of Allegiance".
Like I said earlier, this album has a lot of atmosphere. A major contributing factor to this would be the keyboard work by Lyle Livingston. While his playing is quick like Children of Bodom, it's chilling and great for the album's dark feel. Lyle also uses a wide range of keyboard settings, which are occasionally that of an orchestra. This will definitely please the symphonic metal fans out there.
For all of you drum fanatics out there, Dragonlord would be a pretty good band to check out. The album is chock full of beastly fast double bass drumming and blast beats. Jon Allen's speed is top notch, but he's not all too creative. This isn't all too much of a setback though because he's just meant to keep a strong backing beat for the group. As for the bass work, let's just say that it's nothing too special. Derek isn't nearly as talented as the band's past bassist, Steve DiGiorgio. He just provides a strong low end groove for the songs that allow the guitars just to solely be louder. Bassists out there won't really find anything revolutionary on here.
-- There is a dark and chilling atmosphere throughout.
-- The guitar riffs are technical and enjoyable.
-- Very impressive and fast drumming.
-- Great production quality.
-- Great harsh vocals.
-- There isn't any filler on here.
-- The clean vocals seem out of place.
-- There is a lack of creativity from the rhythm section.
Final Rating: 3/5