In demonology, Dantalion is a powerful Great Duke of Hell, with thirty-six legions of demons under his command. In the world of metal Dantalion is a Spanish doom metal band with roots in black metal. Where Fear Is Born is their latest output and it has become a seven track beast of an album. The namedropper in me quickly mentions bands like Novembers Doom, Evergrey and Saturnus but these references are only superficial. In their ten years of existance Dantalion really has created their own sound, loaded by years of death, black and doom metal history.
Where Fear Is Born could have been one of the most interesting metal releases in this year but I think there are a few minor problems with this album. First, and probably the most obtrusive is the exorbitant use of the double bass drum. While this often works very well within this subgenre of metal, in this album it's actually a bit overdone. It makes most songs sound pretty much the same, at least on CD. I can image that this could reach sheer awesomeness in a live performance, putting their audience in a state of trance, headbanging their hoodies off.
Second is the vocals. Personally I really like them, they bring a sense of originality to the overall sound. They're not death metal, nor black metal but somewhere in between, creating a curious cold atmosphere where the music is a lot warmer. But on the other hand I feel like some people might find them to be outdated or that these screaming grunts don't really belong here. The clean vocals Dantalion often uses are more fitting to the music, especially during the slow, melodic passages on this album but here, too, the sound of the vocals seems a bit off.
So for these reasons I'm a bit torn between absolutely loving this magnificent sound and doubting about the overall quality of the release. From a technical and a melodical standpoint, this is a very good album with two minor flaws. The seven songs on this album are well written, constantly shifting and altering between heavy and melodic doom. I have to admit that after a few listens the downsides start fading away and that it becomes clear that Dantalion is a pretty talented band that is still growing and still defining their own sound. It's unfortunate that this album doesn't immediatly impresses but it does provide the listener with a feeling of anticipation towards live performances. I feel that this material will work a lot better on stage and that Where Fear Is Born will sell a lot better at merchandise stands than in shops.