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All Roads Lead to Death - 67%

todesengel89, April 4th, 2011

From the title of Dantalion's third full length album, All Roads Lead to Death, it is already unsurprising and obvious the direction that Dantalion's music is going to take. With two critically acclaimed full length albums already under their belt, the band certainly has high expectations to meet.

At the start of Bleakness, a guitar riff that could easily be mistaken for bands such as Fen begins Dantalion's attack on the aural senses. As the tortured vocals of Sanguinist comes in, the depressed atmosphere is set, something that will remain throughout the entire album, maintained through the brilliant execution of the instruments by the various band members.

The powerful guitars ensure that their presence is constantly felt throughout the record, with the many lead spots that are littered throughout the album to give space for guitarist Netzja to demonstrate his ability through the numerous short guitar solos. The high presence of the lead guitars brings records such as Watain's recent Lawless Darkness to mind, with guitar lines that, while not always a shred fest, always maintain a degree of epic-ness in them. There are also times when the band break into almost melodic death metal sections, such as on Walking to Eternity, and this certainly does not pull the record down as it provides an interesting element to the overall sound of Dantalion. Songs such as Claws of Pestilence also display drummer Naemoth's versatility and influences, with the play on the cymbals reminding listeners of King Diamond's Abigail.

Befitting to the genre that Dantalion plays, the music is hardly a full on speed fest as the band alternates between fast and mid-paced sections effectively, with the slower paced sections punctuated with depressive-sounding riffs to emphasise on the mood of the music. It is also on such slower sections that Sanguinist's vocals shine, a howl that brings depressive/suicidal black metal bands such as I'm In A Coffin to mind. Besides the usual growls and shrieks, Sanguinist also make use of undecipherable shouts on songs such as My Last Breath, sounding as though a dead man's vengeance call for the forced departure from the mortal before being he is able to fulfill his last wish. The closing track Gloom and Failure brings in yet again the comparison with atmospheric black metal act Fen with the beautiful guitar melody at the background, bringing a suitable end for All Roads Lead to Death.

There are however instances where the transition between the faster and slower paced sections sound awkward and sudden, such as on Walking to Eternity, slightly spoiling the overall "smoothness" of the experience. In addition, in the same song the song ends in a predictable manner (with the music increasingly slowing down until a stop), and this certainly affects the enjoyment of the song, with an impressive start and a mediocre end. Abrupt endings such as on Claws of Pestilence leave the listener hanging. Fortunately the often impressive starts of most of the songs save such awkward moments present on the album.

Of course, all this is rounded up by the excellent production job by Dan Swanö, with guitar tones soar on the high notes and growl nicely on chords, and ensuring that no instruments are buried in the mix, with even the bass guitar clearly audible most of the time, such as on Thought of Desolation.

Overall a pretty enjoyable album with superb execution on the instruments (especially on the part of Sanguinist's versatility), though the album could have been a more enjoyable affair without the few awkward moments present.