Release DetailsLABEL Shadow Flame Productions
RELEASED ON 2/5/2005
The Stone Oracles
posted on 1/2005 By:
Hailing from the UK, and inspired by a love of mid-90s Scandanavian metal, Desolation is a promising young act whose debut LP, The Stone Oracles, is an extremely professional presentation of epic melodic death metal. With a sound that alludes both to the silvery Maiden-isms of the early Gothenburg scene and an Opeth-ian penchant for reflective acoustic interludes, the most appealing aspect of Desolation's approach is their ability to combine these various influences in a consistent and immersive manner.
At the heart of Desolation's sound is an unabashed fascination with Iron Maiden. However, where they are able to separate themselves from their contemporaries on this release is their ability to go beyond simple mimicking of familiar melodic passages and actually strike right at the heart of the songwriting ideals so effective for Maiden during their string of classics. This is due in large part to the immense duel guitar capability of Stuart Norman and Benjamin Ash. The acoustic guitar lead found on "Blindsight" is impressive not only in it's flawless execution but in the unpretentious manner in which the band is able meld it with the rest of the song. The duo fully explore melodic passages and create expansive fleshed out leads as they brazenly indulge in their passion for soaring guitar histrionics. The band's ability to draw from recognizable motifs to such a meticulous degree while maintaining a distinctive flair results in fare that is far more palatable than what is commonly served by the host of melo-X bands springing from every corner of the current metal scene.
The middle-weight rasp of the vocalist/guitarist is serviceable, but far from remarkable. The clean vocals that appear throughout the album are done, for the most part, with a respectable degree of class. Norman seems to understand his limitations as a melodic vocalist and wisely stays within those boundaries. "Enlightened Oblivion" and "Wriath" feature some keyboard driven sections with whispered vocals that are far too reminiscent of Hecate Enthroned's recent output, but these brief moments account for the low-lights of this otherwise stellar album.
So what is so refreshing about this album? For fans of Iron Maiden and the Gothenburg scene they would inadvertently spawn, it's nice to hear a band who's able to capture such a successful sound, not through imitation, but through a similar mindset with the acts they wish to emulate. While not entirely original, Desolation will at least stand out for many due to their ability to succeed where recently so many bands have failed. Highly recommended.
Register to post comments.