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(53:16, Blood Rock/Black Widow Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Red Sky of Sorrow 6:24 2. Black Swan 7:24 3. A Quiet Land of Fear 7:37 4. 0 Kilometers to Nothing 6:20 5. Ancestral Silence 2:21 6. Silent Sun 5:55 7. Distances 8:33 8. Inanis 2:28 9. I Will Disappear into the Sun 6:51 LINEUP: Marco Paddeu – vocals; guitars Matteo Orlandi – synthesizers Adriano Magliocco – bass Marcello Fattore – drums
Prolusion. DEMETRA SINE DIE is a modern Italian outfit. According to the CD press kit, they play a dark and visionary music, cosmic doom in the vein of bands such as Tool, Neurosis, Ancestors, Swans and A Storm of Light (of which I’m only acquainted with the former). “A Quiet Land of Fear” is a follow-up to their debut effort “Council from Kaos” from 2008.
Analysis. There are nine tracks on the record, of which the shortest two, Ancestral Silence and Inanis, are the only instrumentals here. Basically representing versions of electronic soundscapes, using slowly droning synthesizers as their main or, rather, sole compositional element, both of them are largely spontaneous creations, differing from the others on all levels. The rest of the album is also pretty much uniform in style, but is much more varied musically. On each of the tracks with lyrical content (some of which are largely instrumental, though), the band alternates sections with heavy, doomy Space Metal-inspired, arrangements with ones that come across as more traditional Space Rock, and also with those whose content appears as a mixture of the latter genre and e-music, now driving out brutal (yet, at the same time, comparatively atmospheric) late 80/early ’90 Bathory-style Doom Metal, now hovering in the dark, mysterious gothic places that might evoke Voivod on sedatives, now revealing gentler musical landscapes that are reminiscent of Tool in places, with Radiohead-like soundscapes connecting the other parts of the pieces, moving the story along with synthesizer effects and, at times, with narration. Take the album’s title track, for instance. It begins and develops with an aggressive Bathorish sound before moving into a more delicately balanced section, showcasing Marco Paddeu’s vocals along with his fluid electric guitar, and also synthesizer, then quickly evolving back out into a more intense sonic disruption again, etc. Almost all of the other songs are similar to this, mainly differing from it, as well as from each other, only by the quantity of metalloids involved, and if on such tracks as the described one, Red Sky of Sorrow, Ancestral Silence and I Will Disappear into the Sun the heavier textures dominate over the softer ones, on Distances, Black Swan and Silent Sun we get the opposite picture, the latter two more often finding the synthesizer player creating loops and shimmering textures than any of the other songs do. One of those, Silent Sun, is the only largely instrumental vocal track here, its sole section with singing evoking something halfway between ‘A Pocket Sun’ from Tiamat’s “Wildhoney” and ‘Feel So Low’ from Porcupine Tree’s “Lightbulb Sun” (at its most reflective), Paddeu’s accented English particularly obvious here. Finally, Distances is my favorite composition here. Although still in many similar to the other songs, it additionally reveals some Arabic motifs, and also elements of Jazz-Fusion, courtesy of a trumpet. As for the musicianship, drummer Marcello Fattore beats all of his bandmates in technique. Regardless of the overall intensity of the music, the drums are always powerful and varied at once, at times appearing to be the only really soloing instrument in the arrangement.
Conclusion. All of the songs are precisely composed, with some really interesting changes in style and instrumentation, but since quite a few of their thematic storylines are prolonged, the end result isn’t too impressive, at least from an orthodox progressive viewpoint. Anyhow, if the quartet’s delivery is not as dare as either of the afore-cited bands, the audiences of the last two of them will fairly likely be ones to embrace this album.
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