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DesDemon: The Awakening

If you are in a power metal band and you are not mixing clean vocals with growls, then there's a good chance that you have to be fronted by a glass shatteringly high pitched female singer. Not content with one of those approaches, DesDemon have decided to plump for both. Mistress Tina is the provider of these extremes and while the current internet consensus would suggest that her efforts on this debut EP are proving to be popular, I have to say that her indulgences leave me thoroughly unmoved.

Galloping drums and riffs burst through on opening track "Acquiescence Of Illusion", however the initial effect is one of "look how fast we can play" as the guitars wail, squeal and scream and the kick drums race for all their worth. So when the focus of a commanding vocal is needed to bring all of this chaos into order, Mistress Tina's extremely high pitched scream just compounds the feeling that somebody somewhere needed to drag this back into the realms of reality. Don't get me wrong, this lady can't half sing, however when she aims for the stratosphere with her pitch, there is little consideration for the musical background she is supposed to be representing. Within the near six minutes of that opener the Mistress does reveal an impressive lower register and a convincing aggression often lacking in female vocalists. By that time however the damage is done and any other efforts can only go some way to patch up the confusion.

"A Soul In Exile" follows and once more vocally this would appear to more about demonstrating the range and power possessed, than the understanding of how best to work within the musical framework. That music too often falls into the theatrical cliché that "dramatic" power metal suffers from, with string stabs and power chords clashing against one another and in truth while the playing is undoubtedly slick, there is little here that hasn't been done many times before. "Iago" does contain more restraint and focus than what has gone before, with a guttural riff and pounding beat this time seeing a less flashy, but more effective vocal, however the "schlock horror" keyboards add little to the atmosphere and come over as more twee than goth and the decision to then add some extremely unconvincing rasping, growling vocals ruins what has gone before. Imagine a straightfaced, less tongue in cheek female version of King Diamond and you will be close to the effect that DesDemon seem to be aiming for. While the Danish warbler uses his vocal extremes to tell stories and embellish some spooky yet hard hitting metal. Mistress Tina just feels out of place and forced, and if I was being unkind a little contrived.

Closing track "In The Absence Of Light" does manage to sound wholly more convincing and the epic nature of this over ten minute romp illustrates that with a stronger structure and more discipline DesDemon can hit hard and leave a lasting impression, it's just such a shame that it takes them so long to realise it.

Track Listing
1. The Acquiescence Of Illusion
2. A Soul In Exile
3. Iago
4. The Burning Martyr
5. In The Absence Of Light

Added: March 15th 2010
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Band's Web Site
Hits: 1975
Language: english

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