|Underneath its cliché-ridden presentation, the first demo by Dionisyan is a promising work of melodic Death Doom.|
“Dionisyan plays an exclusive atmospheric doom / melodic death metal.” This piece of information is given on the inside of the cover sleeve of Land of Dreams, the first demo by the Italian band which has been recorded by the main songwriter Tregor Russo alone (in the meantime, he has recruited four additional members to complete the line-up). Even before listening to the actual music, I was very sceptical and expected the worst: Cheesy name (if you were attentive at school, you may remember that Dionysos is the god of wine, ecstasy etc. in Greek mythology), cheesy album title, cheesy song titles, cheesy artwork, a biography in bad English and then the above description to top things off. And indeed, when listening to the short demo, one cannot help but wonder what is so “exclusive” about it, for we have heard it all many times before; maybe they wanted to suggest that they play this style exclusively? This being said, the material on Land of Dreams is actually much better than expected!
The first and last tracks are short instrumentals gently orchestrated with classical guitar and synths. With their beautifully melancholic atmosphere and a slight Mediterranean influence in the guitar, they show a lot of promise and talent. After reading the band’s description of their own music, it comes as no surprise that the other two tracks are melodic Death Doom compositions mostly based on twin guitar harmonies very much in the vein of Anathema (Crestfallen/Serenades era). The reference to Melodic Death Metal turns out to be quite justified, too: If played twice as fast, some of the riffs would come close to the characteristic Gothenburg sound, especially in the third song. Drums, bass and growled vocals are all solid without bringing anything unexpected. For a demo, the production is very professional and crisp, which helps bringing out the potential of the songs. Tregor Russo certainly has come up with good melodies and arrangements, and he manages to outbalance the elements of his compositions very well, using subtle synths only sparsely to complement the overall atmosphere. It would be interesting to hear the two distinct styles (folky acoustic arrangements and Death Doom) integrated into a cohesive whole on future efforts instead of keeping them strictly apart in separate tracks; in this way, the band could start to develop an identity of their own in a field of music where it becomes increasingly hard for new bands to catch the attention of listeners due to the sheer amount of generic material.
In sum, Dionisyan (not to be confused with the US one-man project Dionysian) is an interesting new band that fans of the genre should keep an eye on. I have to get back to my first impression, though: To be perfectly honest, I probably would not have listened to the release if I had stumbled over it in a private context (i.e. not as a reviewer) since the cliché-ridden presentation is somewhat off-putting. So my advice to the band would be to try and work out a more appropriate image – apart from the “exclusive” part, they are really underselling themselves here. I mean, “Angel of Seduction”? Come on… If you like Death Doom, do not let these Goth stereotypes scare you away.
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1. The Beginning of the Torment
2. Touch My Hands
3. Angel of Seduction
4. The End of Ecstacy [sic]
Duration : Approx. 18 minutes
Visit the Dionisyan bandpage.