Dulcinea: In the Shadow of the Sun
Dulcinea is a Johor Bahru, Singapore, alternative/progressive rock band who released In the Shadow of the Sun late last year in 2011. The band is made up of: Gerard Richards, on vocals, (who sounds a lot like Tom Cochran of Red Rider…anyone remember him?), Mathew Thomas and Paul Yong on guitars; Jason Ng, on bass and keyboards; and Rashid Mohd Said, on drums.
Their press release, and the famous Carl Jung quote on the inside cover of the CD booklet best sum up the feeling and experience of their music: "Dulcinea is a representation of what it means to be alive and all the joy and suffering that goes along with a life consciously and fully lived. The goal is to communicate, express and heal through music". Dulcinea is also the name of a character in Miguel De Cervantes' novel Don Quixote.
This is one of the best albums I missed last year. Wish I would have had this demo because it would have ranked high on my end of the year lists. It is very good heavy progressive rock music which really brings back the power I remember from two of my favorite albums of the last thirty or so years. This album sounds like a great mix from the best of Red Rider's Neruda, mixed well with Kingcrow's Phlegathon, shaken and then stirred well with some of the amp and power from 1990s Alice in Chains. Now that does make for an excellent concoction!
Silent Reign, opens after a slow quiet opening with keys, the action comes rushing at you like a symphony of sound, motion, and emotion. The thundering drums, double electric guitars and power bass bring on a feeling which I remember from listening to Red Rider's Neruda for the first time. Excellent start and Richard's vocals even share some emotional similarities with Red Rider's Cochran. Only this music is much heavier than Red Rider's. They grab your attention from the onset and the power chords will rock you well…but then again double guitars are meant to do that. The power drums are also killer and the bass will shake the walls of the room.
Vertigo lets go on a course to leave nothing standing in the way of you becoming an overnight fan of the band. More great drums, heavy bass and power electric chords. This time Richard's vocals match the power being delivered from the rest of the sound. The electric chords continue to amp up, like power generators giving that smashing Rush – like sound as the track progresses.
Voice Inside slows things down and gives you a great chance to appreciate Richard's vocals, which on this track take on more of a Layne Staley sound. The heavier parts of the track truly bring back sounds of that 90s/Alice in Chains grunge feel.
Koyaanisqatsi, opens with female spoken voice, then some wonderful acoustic guitar, bass, and excellent keys. Easily one of the best tracks on the album. The band really stretches out the dynamics of their sound with some fantastic launching guitar, well harmonized with excellent key support. The bass rides strong through the storm of sound creating solid rhythm. Simply amazing.
Sacred Star brings back memories of the rocking good times had by listening to some of the tracks on Kingcrow's, (from Italy), Phlegethon. That pounding bass, coupled with the cool cymbals just rocks the opening before the power electric chords come storming at you. This is the best rocker on the album. Similar to Kingcrow's Evasion, with more of that Red Rider sound, only amped up and driven through the eye of the needle faster. Those howling guitar chords are astounding.
Ice on the Sun brings back more of that crushing Alice in Chains sound again. Enough thunder power to blast your ears and shake the walls. The electric vocal effects only add to the drama and effects on this one.
Illuminating Light is full of great electric power chords that at times launch and at others just grind to the heavy beat of the bass and drums.
Saturn Return is full of more stomping drums, heavy bass and weaving electric guitars. Try this one when you're driving through the city at night or on a windy road over near the coastline.
Ghosts opens with cool claps and a nice new beat to it. The track is full of cool haunting keys and whining guitar. The third best track on the album by far and may even give Sacred Star a run for second. The originality and excellent rhythm make this a real album stand out. Those thundering drums are just fantastic. The bass work is some the best, on an album full of exceptional bass work.
Closure brings the album to…well…a close, with some wonderful acoustic guitars opening and the quieter side of Richard's vocals. "Sail away", set to the sounds of freedom and soft drums, warm bass, and electric chord strumming. An excellent way to end an impressive debut album. I'm in, and will be looking forward to the follow up.
1. Silent Reign
3. Voice Inside
5. Sacred Star
6. Ice on the Sun
7. Illuminating Light
8. Saturn Return
Added: March 24th 2012
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link: Dulcinea Facebook.com
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