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Slow – VI Dantalion Award winner

VI Dantalion
by Dave Nowels at 09 October 2019, 9:54 PM

In demonology, Dantalion is a powerful Great Duke of Hell commanding thirty-six legions of lesser demons. He is the seventy-first spirit, and as such, “His Office is to teach all Arts and Sciences unto any; and to declare the Secret Counsel of any one; for he knoweth the Thoughts of all Men and Women, and can change them at his Will. He can cause Love, and show the Similitude of any person, and show the same by a Vision, let them be in what part of the World they Will. He governeth 36 Legions of Spirits; and this is his Seal, which wear thou, etc."

I'm glad I've had a couple of weeks to properly process this one. A SLOW album is not one to rush to judgment on with one simply one listen. No, rather it takes multiple contemplative and focused  listens in order to absorb it's beauty. Beauty, for that's exactly what it is. Though dark and horrific, there is a beauty within for those that seek it.  Funeral Doom is the genre albums such as this typically fall within, but I'd argue that albums such as “VI Dantalion” are larger than the genre's fans or music executives use to contain and brand artists and their creations. That's really what we have here. Art. Abstract art that defies genres and labels.

“VI Dantalion” is SLOW's second release of 2019, having reissued/re-recorded “IV Mythologiae” back in January. That album was my introduction to the crafty genius that is Déhà and Lore, the Belgian duo that periodically unite to create and record the horrific beauty that evolves from their collaborations. I found myself jolted to my core by “Mythologiae”, and relished the opportunity to engage with this ensuing continuation. Perhaps surprisingly, I found that “VI Dantalion” affected me quite differently. Where as “Mythologie” contains an element of light and hope, “Dantalion” embraces the darkness, the horror and the nightmare realm. Like most, I find struggle within the contrast of the light and the dark. I found that this release affected me quite emotionally.

The album chronicles a fall beginning with the agony of the opening track “Descente”, and the last glimmer of hope with “Lueur”. Instrumentation, while stark, surrounds the listener and building and crashing in heaviness. Déhà's vocals evoke the absolute totality of terror like few I've heard. “Géhenne” immerses the listener into an immensity of unholy final punishment and reckoning, while “Futilité” captures abject hopelessness with a cinematic ability. “Lacune's” lilting piano offers a brief indulgence of light, perhaps more a reminiscent of  a previous existence  before the descent to Hell. Yet, that's only until Hell physically crashes down upon the listener, continuing the punishment and exacting brutal revenge for a moment of weakness. “Incendiare's” piano intro offers the last grasp of hope before the intensity that follows consumes all. Of all the tracks, this one affected me most significantly. If there's a beauty to be found in Hell, this is it.

“Elégie” is a grand, final piece that is both mournful and nostalgic but also one that extends a ray of light that offers a new opportunity. The concept and execution Lore and Déhà have so artfully done with “VI Dantalion” is breathtaking, and cannot be understated. The ability to capture such a wealth of human emotions within the hour and twenty minutes of this release is stunning, and speaks to the truth of this collaboration between two incredibly gifted artists. They've done it again, and it's both horrifying and infinitely alluring. It's an album that should render the listener emotionally drained, yet satisfied. Bravo.


5 Star Rating

1. Descente
2. Lueur
3. Géhenne
4. Futilité
5. Lacune
6. Incendiare
7. Elégie
Déhà - Guitars, Drums, Vocals
Lore B. - Bass, Lyrics, Concepts 
Record Label: Code 666 Records


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Edited 21 January 2020

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