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Dragonlord: Black Wings of Destiny

Is it just me, or are there too many damn "Dragon..." named bands these days, making it almost impossible to tell one from the other? Thankfully, Dragonlord don't sound like any of the other ones, staying clear from the power metal genre and instead this band are a pretty powerful black metal ensemble, sounding like a cross between Cradle of Filth and Dimmu Borgir. Led by Testament guitarist Eric Peterson (he also does the vocals here), Dragonlord also features Steve Smyth (Nevermore), Derek Ramirez (Testament), Jon Allen (Sadus) and Lyle Livingston. So, you can essentially call the band a sort of supergroup, playing in a different style than their main bands. The formula really works on Black Wings of Destiny, the bands second release.

The crushing riffs from Peterson and Smyth mesh quite well with the symphonic keyboards played by Livingston, especially on the brutal cuts "Revelations" and "Becoming Of". Peterson's demonic wail is never too over the top, but just brutal enough to please most symphonic black metal fans. Surprisingly, the songs are very melodic and catchy, even amidst all the bombastic thunder, and the abundance of keyboards gives it that extra progressive edge. Produced by none other than Fredrik Nordstrom, Black Wings of Destiny really sounds great sonically, and the band seems to be really gelling as a unit, resulting in a very strong overall presentation. Tracks like "Sins of Allegiance", "Mark of Damnation", and "Until the End" all have a very powerful and epic feel, and in the latter Peterson even throws in some melodic clean vocals as well for good measure. As an added treat, the band recorded a fun cover of the Thin Lizzy classic "Emerald".

I'm really digging this CD, and I think that lovers of melodic & symphonic black metal bands like Old Mans Child, Bjorknagar, Dimmu Borgir, and Cradle of Filth will certainly find lots to enjoy here. Dragonlord is proof that there will be life after Testament for Peterson & Co. after all.

Track Listings
1. Becoming Of
2. Curse of Woe
3. Revelations
4. Sins of Allegiance
5. Until the End
6. Mark of Damnation
7. Blood Voyeur
8. Fallen
9. Black Funeral
10. Emerald

Added: January 16th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Dragonlord Website
Hits: 5218
Language: english

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Dragonlord: Black Wings of Destiny
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-01-16 19:04:14
My Score:

Testament's Eric Peterson is a Metal heavyweight on his own due to numerous contributions to the genre with that legendary Bay Area band. Steve Smyth is also someone who continually raises the bar on what guitarists are able to do in his band Nevermore and recently the two have shown just how wide the scope of Metal delivery can be. Hot off the heels of the original lineup reunions of Testament and touring for Nevermore's incredible release This Godless Endeavor the pair bring us the mighty Dragonlord. Knowing these musicians past in the Power and Traditional genres of Metal led me to anticipate something similar to what I already knew. I had no idea that it would be a journey down the roads of Black Metal and that I would enjoy it as much as I ended up doing. At a number of points the group mirrors what one can expect in the recent material by Norway's Dimmu Borgir and that is due to Peterson's growl reminding me so much of Shagrath himself. Certain musical runs also hold in kind to what the Dark Norse Gods have brought to the table, but with them being one of the top acts in that form it was a welcome sound to find on this release. There are some Symphonic elements due to the keyboards and as a result Dragonlord shows not only the love of Black styling's but inside the music a little deeper is a profound level of musicianship that shows a wider range than some others might showcase. It is a tight quartet who does not seem to lose any momentum as the record plays through. Joining Peterson and Smith is Derek Ramirez (bass), Lyle Livingston (keyboards) and Jon Allen (drums). There is such a great display of their abilities in these songs that makes them appear to be a good live lineup or at least interesting to watch in concert.

I had a number of favorite tracks on the CD with "The Becoming Of" starting me off. "Fallen" is a lightning quick number that shows Jon Allen delivering "blast beat" drumming at several sections for proper assault. I also enjoyed the moderate tempo of "Until The End" as it was a nice show that everything did not need to be sped through on the album. "Revelations" also appealed to me on a number of levels. To change it up the group also brings a couple of covers to the recording. The first is a cover of Mercyful Fate's "Black Funeral" and despite the closeness musically it is done vocally in the Black style growling. I admit that this aspect of it did not seem to fit in my book. The other cover was a surprise in the spot on version of Thin Lizzy's "Emerald" which was more Hard Rock than Metal even. This is a great CD and I found myself playing it a couple of times before I commented the review. It is difficult to turn off once it begins. I think there is a lot here for a lot of Metal heads to enjoy and it makes a nice side-project CD for your collection should you only want to see what Peterson and Smith have done outside of Testament and Nevermore.

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