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Dantalion - Time to Pass Away

Time to Pass Away
by Jesse Lacharite at 25 October 2021, 4:56 PM

Next up on the mortuary slab is Vigo, Spain's DANTALION.  Hmmmm, occultic, atmospheric black metal maybe?  There are a lot of elements weaving in and out of each other with this one.  Let's delve deeper into this raging maelstrom of purest black.

The first thing we need to talk about is the vocals.  Familiar and yet entirely distinct.  There is an obvious nod to “Clandestine” era ENTOMBED, but more recently, it reminds of me of Bolzer's fantastic “Aura” EP from 2013.  DANTALION have made a shrewd decision in this regard.  Some might argue that it doesn't quite fit the music, but I disagree.  Adding new elements to already established norms only strengthens the genre, it's the blind adherence to dogmatic and hackneyed tropes that hinders the music’s ability to evolve.

From a production standpoint, there are a few issues.  Now, I know that it's all the rage to not care about how your album sounds, unfortunately, I'm not one of those people.  While not displeasing in any way, there is some muddiness in the lower registers.  The guitar melodies cut through the mix, but the rhythms are a little anemic for my tastes.  They needed to be girthier to really pound home the power.  What we have here is a pretty standard sounding black metal album, nothing jumps out but at the same time it also handily gets the job done.  Now onto the music proper.

The first track “The Call” is the now, perfunctory instrumental that most black metal bands seem compelled to include nowadays.  It wasn't overly spooky so I question what purpose it serves in the grand design considering the instrumental part could have just as easily been incorporated into the first real track “The Relentless Shadow”.

We start to see at this point what the band truly have to offer, and despite some criticisms lobbed early in the review (because musically speaking, I'm kind of neurotic) this is a really great listen.  Thundering drums and cascading crescendos of tremolo picked evilness wash over the listener.

Gate to an Eternal Doom” comes rampaging out of said metaphorical 'gate', before drawing the intensity down and allowing the guitars to take center stage.  Admittedly I wasn't overly enthused by some of the strange hoots and “whoo's” vocally intertwined into the more atmospheric parts, but you don't always get what you want on Christmas either.
Constant Mourning Process” has the band experimenting with more funeral like passages.  The beautiful, arranged arpeggio sequence during the intro was unexpectedly pleasing.  Blasts resume while the guitar gently sails atop the tumultuous cacophony of drum and bass.  Nice!

There are always moment within the record that exemplify the bands real strength.  Melodic, mid-paced vistas of alluringly ungodly desecration.  The speedier moments are good, but predictable.  The slower movements offer an opportunity to lull the listener into a false sense of security, but by extension the heavier parts need to be even more extreme.  The band do a credible job, but it misses the mark ever so slightly.

The Mischievous Faces” and “From Suffering to Oblivion” are two more well-constructed songs.  They are following a familiar pattern at this point.  Atmospherics leading into apocalyptic insanity, wash, rinse, repeat.

Finally, we come to “From Consciousness to the Grave” This is probably my favorite song on the release.  I love the killer guitar arrangement at the beginning of the song.  It's the addition of more complex chord forms that provide a much more interesting harmonic background for the vocals to flit about.  I almost wish most of the album was of this caliber, the extreme parts fit more aptly with the groovier/slower parts.  All in all, a killer track by any metric.

All right, let's get down to brass tax.  First, this is a great album and there is a lot to like on here.  All the constituent ingredients are here.  When it's extreme, it's punishing.  When they ease up, they craft lush and ostensibly beautiful passages.  My issue is overall delivery, I wasn't entirely engaged the whole time and got the feeling several of those times that I've heard this all before somewhere.  DANTALION could be a truly gifted band, but “Time to Pass Away” feels like the beginning steps to something much greater. More work is needed before the masterwork is presented to the dark lord himself.  A solid release and definitely worth a spin for fans of atmospheric Black Metal and more standard Black Metal fare.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  9
Memorability:  8
Production:  7

4 Star Rating

1. The Call
2. The Relentless Shadow
3. Gate to an Eternal Doom
4. Time to Close the Circle
5. Constant Mourning Process
6. The Mischievous Faces
7. From Suffering to Oblivion
8. From Consciousness to the Grave
Naemoth - Drums
Netzja - Guitars
Sanguinist - Vocals
Vorgh - Guitars
natnoF - Bass
Record Label: Darkwoods


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