Thursday, February 2, 2017
DUMAL - The Lessor God review
DUMAL - The Lessor God
A few weeks ago someone from one of the black metal groups I belong to on Facebook posed a question which came up in my feed. The question was "Name Your 5 Favorite USBM bands". I kinda ignore most of what I see in that group but this time I clicked on the link to post an answer and for the life of me I just couldn't think of any. Not that I don't know any but I really don't have any present favorite American black metal bands that are outstanding enough to place my name besides. Also most of my favorites are all old bands who are now defunct or got boring over time. But now after listening to this release for the past week I have an answer.
What we have here true believers is the debut full length by DUMAL. They're a three piece black metal act outta Pennsylvania but if I didn't tell you that fact most listeners would of thought somewhere else entirely. For me that's one of many reasons why I like DUMAL's The Lessor God. Let me explain, as for it's history the USBM scene has had it's positives and negatives. The mid-90s had a lot of cool bands who were far more original sounding in that they tended to be more influenced by death metal and thrash as opposed to the typical European themes. Of course after a few years that all changed when black metal got popular and US acts started emulating many aspects of European black metal. Mainly it was bands hopping on the whole symphonic black metal train and one acts doing BURZUM. DUMAL on the other hand are far more unique.
When I listen to this the most obvious standout is a strong Eastern European black metal influence. I mean sure they have a song on here titled "Ukrainia", wow there's a dead giveaway. I'm sure these guys heard some DRUDKH before. But they are also one of the two US bands, there was another one from Minnasota years ago, who capture that majestic influence of early ENSLAVED and meld it within a sound that overall is pure and original. Remember these guys are from Pennsylvania a state I use to call home. Sure there are areas in that state which natural surroundings like woodlands still exist where you can spend your Sundays instead of inside a church and it does get cold there. Of course I lived in more urban areas back in the day so instead of grim & frosty my recollections are grim & filthy. Also every other street corner had a bar or a church, take that however you want.
Be that as it may, DUMAL have tapped into something worthwhile in order to bring about songs that carry blackened melodies which are definately cold and harsh. At times the riffs just rip you out of reality and place you on a dark atmospheric plane. There's not much happiness going on here. The band's songs deal more in anti-theist themes whether it's "Lost Caverns", "Spring Will Never Come" or the amazing "Abrahamic Contagion". There's a few nods to nature as well as ancient battles like on "The Path to the Fortress Is Lined with Statues". The band does break stride with "The Wind Demon" which is a somber keyboard and drum instrumental. Thankfully they didn't end the release with that cut because then it would've been looked at by me as a throwaway outro. The previously mentioned "Ukrainia" is actually (I hope I'm correct) a poem by Ukrainian poet, writer, artist, and political dissedent Taras Shevchenko.
I believe when I get right down to it The Lesser God is a perfect release. The tone of the musicianship meets well with the vocals. The songs have a well written texture that displays craft and character. The production is about as perfect as a black metal album can get. Seriously this is exciting and never contrived. The opening cut "Fane of the Clandestine" is a welcoming handshake to an experience you've been waiting for. The past couple of days I've been weighing the negatives versus the positives of present day black metal. As I noted the negatives I always came back and listened to this release for some positive black metal reinforcement. You can guess who won and thanks.