Metalegion #2/2017

issue2 frontpageNothing more normal than having a sort of ascension line when we are talking about of newer bands. The Greeks Desert Near The End have released the third album “Theater of War”, which sees the closing of a trilogy started with their debut “A Crimson Dawn”. If you had the privilege to follow them since the beginning, you will understand perfectly my initial statement because album after album there is a sense of progression. “Hunt for the Sun” already showed signs of going a little further but it’s with “Theater of War” that the trio completes the circle and embark not only on a vicious full throttle battle but also with a fabulous production to back it up, courtesy of Tue Madsen (already worked with bands like Dark Tranquillity, Gorefest or The Haunted) at Antfarm Studio. By going a bit more extreme with execrably fast bass drums (although they are programmed drums) they have soften even more the Iced Earth/power metal references that were prominent on the previous releases without dropping them at all. It sounds a bit confusing I confess, but that’s exactly what Desert Near The End are pulling out from their magician’s hat. A mixture of melodic elements of bands like Iced Earth (Alexandros has a melodic vocal edge that keeps reminding of Matt Barlow in albums like “Something Wicked This Way Comes”) and Blind Guardian with the thrash metal spirit of Kreator and Sodom with intense drum charges akin to what George Kollias does in Nile (really? I wouldn’t go that far but its incredible fast sometimes) and the drive of Vader. “Theater of War” opens with the intensity, perseverance and fierceness that only barbaric warriors could endure on songs like ‘Ashes Descent’ or ‘Faces in the Dark’ with fast riffing, brutal tempos and vigorous rhythmic patterns enriched by small details to create a strong impetus. Nevertheless the album is full of slow or mid-tempo passages like on ‘Point of No Return’, ‘Season of the Sun’ or ‘Under Blackened Skies’ that is abruptly cut in the middle to throw in a sort of “going into battle” guitar and drum pattern. What makes this third album an excellent choice for most metalheads (from power to death metal fans), is the ability of the band despite the constant brutal impetus and charge to slow down when necessary and create melodies and rhythmic patterns that are not only engaging, melodic but also touching. Horns up also for the vocalist, which unintentionally becomes also a highlight on the record.

RICARDO AZEVEDO (Metalegion #2/2017)



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