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Heavy metal music spans the entire world - From its origins in England to the massive influx from the United States, down under in Australia and also South America, in Asia and the sub-continent and lastly the huge hub that is Europe. Almost every country in the world has a love for metal; however one of those countries where you wouldn’t expect to see too many metal bands getting around is the sacred land of Israel. Dark power/traditional metal band Desert is one such band originating from Israel, and was created in 2002 by guitarist Max Shafranski. While there has been quite a few changes to the line up over the past 9 years (6 former members), the current line up joining Max includes keyboardist Oleg Aryutkin, guitarist Sergei Nemichenister, bassist Sergei Dmitrik, drummer Zohar Telor and vocalist Alexei Raymar.
After a demo and an EP released in 2005 and 2006 respectively, Desert were signed by Greek label Sleaszy Rider Records and their full-length debut release was finally under away. Produced by Nick Savio (Cyber Cross, ex-White Skull) in Italy, then mixed and mastered by Andy La Rocque (King Diamond, X-World/5) at Sonic Train studios in Sweden, ‘Star Of Deluded Hopes’ was released in January 2011. Desert are labelled as power metal, but after spinning the disc a number of times, it would be an insult to the band’s song-writing techniques to consider them to be just power metal. There are a fair few different metal genres the band delves into, including dark metal, traditional metal and also a touch of progressive metal.
Heavily guitar and keyboard driven, the sound takes on a bombastic and rhythmic approach, both creative and intricate; that proves to be one of the factors in the CDs success. Singer Alexei has an intriguing and vast range of vocal styles and delivery that almost makes you think there could be another singer within the band. Alexei sings in mainly 3 different forms (all with a thick eastern European accent) that create both aggression and somberness; while delivering in a fashion that sounds quite epic and theatrical. The different vocal styles Alexei uses sounds like a combination of Michael Seifert (Rebellion), Kenneth Brastad (Ashes to Ashes), Fernando Ribeiro (Moonspell) and also Joakim Broden (Sabaton), who incidentally makes a guest appearance on the CD.
The 9 tracks on the disc are all of a slower-paced nature but still creative enough to pack a punch, the band utilising other metal genres and forging them together to make for an interesting and unique experience. The main highlight of ‘Star Of Deluded Hopes’ is the collaboration between Alexei and Sabaton’s Joakim Broden on the scorching track “Lament For Soldiers Glory (Order 227)”. Starting softly with just a piano in the background, the crushing and distorted doomy guitar riffs breaks out in the chorus, with both vocalists giving a passionate and uplifting performance that is sure to leave shivers down your spine.
Another highlight on the disc would be “Victim Of The Light”, which is a wonderful cross between dark metal and gothic metal, due to the atmospheric keyboard effects and the deep and distorted guitar riffs. Alexei blends two vocal styles, one a soft and sombre gothic style, the other an aggressive and raspy style to produce a range of emotions during the song. The third main highlight is the bombastic and pulsating “Letter Of Marque”, a song that is both dark-tinged and quite atmospheric at the same time, with again Alexei’s multiple vocal styles leading the way. Other tracks to look out for on this well constructed release include the CD opener “The Unsubdued”, the memorable and catchy “Soul Of A Wanderer” and the dark gothic influences of the excellent “Whispers”.
Overall ‘Star Of Deluded Hopes’ is very well done for a debut CD, quite dynamic, energetic, emotional, diverse and most of all - appealing. Desert worked exceptionally well on this creative disc and they seem to have great potential and appear to be heading in the right direction right off the bat. Fans of dark-tinged power/traditional metal would relish a band such as this, and possibly the dark gothic/doom metal fans at the same time.
Originally written for www.metalcdratings.com and www.themetalforge.com