Release DetailsLABEL Mosaic Music
RELEASED ON 10/8/2005
posted on 5/2006 By:
I’d have to really pick my brain in order to conjure a French metal album that I think is embarrassingly below par – one that I actually disdain – and Leiden’s third full-length is most assuredly not it. While not in tune with two of France’s major stylistic exports, avantgarde (Carnival in Coal, Wormfood, et al) and black metal (Blut Aus Nord, Deathspell Omega, and others), it’s not that difficult to extract and examine the lifeblood of Dualité. Rooted in gothic, death, and doom metal, the dreamy female vocals do absorb most of the limelight while the bolstering mechanisms combine to produce a structure that is not only weighty, but also solid enough to resist even a dynamite blast. Though impervious to a mindless, superficial wrecking crew, a more careful and procedural dissembling will yield a few unwavering disappointments that collectively form this record.
Leiden are surely heavy-handed when they want to be, as much of Dualité will attest, but like I said, this disc has an inherent haunting nature, which would be spellbinding if it weren’t for the nasal-toned vocals of the leading lady. Of course they’re kilometers away from being repulsive, though the weakness is most noticeable in opener “Another Skin.” And despite the rhythm, pace, and tempo contradicting what I’m about to relay, there’s a burliness practically grafted to the heavy sections that reminds me of U.S. metallers Novembers Doom. Second in queue – “Sense of Love” – has that same vibe, plus moments that recall Opeth and Novembre. Still, there are superior likenesses out there, and I’ve tried to muster them, but they just ain’t comin’. Feel free to lend a hand if you want. In Pigeon’s review of Empty he mentioned Nightwish and Tristania, so take those into consideration if you’re familiar. The growls are well done too, yet they aren’t as commanding as those I’ve heard from several professional bellowers in this same industry.
On a similar note, “Crazy” is when the programming makes its first central appearance, instead of just rounding out the support. During the remainder of Dualité, however, the programming bounces between the two, Pong style, from background to foreground to background and so forth and so on. The lulls in “Beware” are great, due in part to the drumming, and the riff near the 3:30 minute mark is definitely noteworthy. “Chimera” is a piano-driven dirge and although it isn’t lighthearted, it’s a nice breather from the group’s regular assault methods. Needless to say, there are those who will compare Leiden to Lacuna Coil – admittedly there are overlapping attributes – and be done with it, but the former’s music runs much deeper than a first glance is able to convey. The last couple songs incorporate fresh technique, so in all honesty, your enthusiasm will be gauged precisely by how much you enjoy this style and this quintet’s version of it.
In sum, while there are a few disappointing things about Dualité, it remains a decent addition to Leiden’s resume. On the whole, though, their latest isn’t quite riveting, nor is it outstanding in any one department – it displays tons of promise and is somewhat satisfying for those who don’t expect brilliance, but who demand a reasonable amount of know how and verve, conjoined. Oh yeah, there’s a naked woman on the front. Forget everything I said: I’m sold!
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