Release DetailsLABEL Fire Of Fire
RELEASED ON 6/5/2008
In Desolationem Per Nefandum
posted on 9/2008 By:
Being that Texas black metal would suffice as a big enough draw for this band to enjoy attention despite their music, were it not for the existence of (the superior) Averse Sefira. So they're left with their music and their cool name. Black metal bands score big points in my book for having cool names, and the coolest in some way tend to reference either mythology or Satan - think Marduk, Gorgoroth, etc. Dagon take their name from one of the first short stories published by H.P. Lovecraft (a very metal author) and manage to pack both mythology and evil into their monicker. (The story came out in 1917 and focuses on a sailor who sees and is plagued by the sea-deity Dagon who emerges from the depths). But it's best not to judge a book by its cover (speaking of which, this album's cover is another strong suit of the Dagon's presentation), or a black metal band by its name. Sadly, then, I've got to inform you that In Desolationem Per Nefandum could and should be a lot better than the decent album it is.
To start, the vocalist (Blood Moon Ausar) almost kills this album at times. Sometimes a unique black metal screech takes some getting used to, but once you do, the payoff is worth the effort and, once accustomed, you couldn't imagine the vocals being any other way (e.g. Peste Noire, Inquisition). That's not the case here. The vocals sound sloppy, untrained, and they dominate the mix, often stealing the otherwise interesting show to drag it into the mire. This is a big problem for the album.
But the music behind the singing isn't so bad. There's a sweet riff after the tempo shift in "The Kings of Malice..." That song is one of the best here, the buzzing guitars pushing the interesting composition to new emotional heights. But "By Ye Rights..." is too long and simply boring. "The Code..." is a nice interlude, but the mood is lost on me and the transition doesn't really make sense. "Vestiments.." starts off very strong, and never loses its forward momentum. At times, the collision of melody and raw aggression works wonders for Dagon, and "Vestiments..." is one of those moments. They can't keep it up though, at least not for long. There's a cool riff in "Corpus..." and the song does maintain the mood set in the latter half of the album. Also, the vocals remain secondary for most of it, and that helps a lot in terms of putting the band's best foot forward (or keeping their bum foot out of sight). Closer "Mind Born Sons..." reverses that smart move, however, and focuses entirely on Blood Moon Ausar, who recites some occult babble in a raspy spoken voice on top of washes of fx and what sounds like ambient water sounds. I dig the chime that follows each prayer and closes out the album though. Reminds me of other American black metal bands (maybe a little like Inquisition, definitely like Avichi's hypnotic The Divine Tragedy) that pander nonsensical metaphysical jargon with such enticing seriousness that I can't help but get a little into the ideas, which in turn deepens my appreciation of the music.
Still, though only running about 44 minutes long, Dagon need to cut the fat, reign in their more expansive compositions that wear thin (like the latter half of "Corpus..", for example) and make the memorable parts ("Vestiments...") even more memorable. That, or aim for black metal that's more hypnotic, droning, and atmospheric. This is quite melodic black metal, but given the band's raw elements and atmospheric elements, I see In Desolationem Per Nefandum as a fence-sitting album right now, as if it can't decide what it wants to be. The parts that could shine glow dull, and it's too bad, because there's definite promise here.
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