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Dulcinea - 2011 - "In the Shadow of the Sun"

(44:51, ‘Spiral’)


1.  Silent Reign 4:24
2.  Vertigo 6:22	
3.  Voice Inside 4:23
4.  Koyaanisqatsi 2:41	
5.  Sacred Star 3:27
6.  Ice on the Sun 3:59
7.  Illuminating Light 3:52
8.  Saturn Return 3:36
9.  Ghosts 4:48
10. Closure 7:19 


Jason Ng – bass; keyboards
Mathew Thomas – guitars 
Gerard Richards – vocals 
Paul Yong – el. guitars 
Rashid Said – drums 

Prolusion. Based partially in Malaysia and partially in Singapore, DULCINEA is a band that is hard to categorize in more ways than mere nationality. They were formed back in 2006, released their initial effort "The Politics Of Fear" two years later, and in the summer of 2011 they were ready with their second album "In the Shadow of the Sun". The CD was released on Spiral Records, the band's own label.

Analysis. As described, Dulcinea is a band that is hard to place within a specific context. It's not that they are among the bands that fervently strive to push and expand stylistic boundaries, nor are they blending genre conventions in a manner that marks for a call of revolution, but their take on music is one not that often encountered; this by way of choices in arrangements and compositional structure combined with a specific sound. And the latter part of this package is massive, dark toned slabs of guitar riffs. Heavy metal and the 80's are automatic associations from an old metalhead as yours truly when I encounter certain types of guitar riffs explored in a slow to mid-paced manner. With the occasional lapse into harmony guitar soloing Iron Maiden style this adds a certain emphasis to this perception. It's at this point that the other features of this bands repertoire complicate matters just a little bit. That they pair off gentler sounding passages, most commonly verse segments, with harder edged metal based chorus parts is perhaps the most minor of these, but frequent use of lead in sequences of a different character to the rest of the songs, alterations in pace to some degree and intensity to a much further degree among the major ones. Rather frequently we're served several rather different sounding themes in each composition, and as such we're quickly hovering along the borderlines of the progressive metal universe, due to structure rather than style as such. And then there's the nifty, quirky instrumental piece Saturn Return that kicks of a final phase of the album that does indeed cross the aforementioned borderline. The following piece Ghosts is of another stature entirely, a blend of haunting moods, folk-tinged guitars and electronic rhythms that is a delightful excursion into art rock territories, which is followed by the dampened, atmospheric ballad Closure. The opening five minutes of this track are among the more delightful specimens of its kind I've encountered in a while. A composition that ends with a two minute run through of three distinctly different sounding metal based themes. And the haunting synths that open Silent Reign, giving way to hammering riffs followed by harmony guitar soloing on top of galloping riffs, a dampened verse part featuring light toned gentle guitar licks and synth backing on top of hard rock oriented guitar riffs prior to a massive slow down to massive dark guitar riffs for the chorus, that description in itself should hopefully say something about this band not quite following a regular, mainstream approach when constructing their songs.

Conclusion. Dulcinea is a band that might be described as sophisticated heavy metal, alternative metal or borderline progressive metal. Whatever you'd like to describe their music as, they do have a lot going for them. A somewhat rough production and lead vocals that are on the weak side may discourage some, but apart from that this act is one worth lending an ear to if you enjoy a metal act that does venture into somewhat unexpected waters, showcasing ambitions in the art rock department.

OMB=Olav M Bjornsen: February 2, 2012
The Rating Room

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