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Dragonlord - Black Wings of Destiny

2005 Escapi Music :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2006-02-02

Wow, what difference 4 years make (I didn't even realize it was that long between records either)! By now, everyone should know that Dragonlord is Eric Peterson's black metal side project when his main band during testaments downtime. Although the bands first LP, 2001's 'Rapture' was a decent enough affair, it was bogged down with generic songs that really made the band sound like what it is, a side project. Not so with 'Black Wings'. First, mention must be made of drummer Jon Allen's (Sadus, ex-Testament) performance, because the man stepped up to the plate and delivered a performance that is up there with all the Nick Barker's and Tjodalv. His blast beats and cymbal playing recall the best drummers of that genre. Eric sounds especially menacing here, sounding like the perfect mixture between Ishan and Shagrath. And his clean vocals, which are utilized more on this record, are tuneful. The guy can seemingly do everything. Now including ex-Testament and current Nevermore axe-man Steve Smyth and Derrick Ramirez on bass, the band sound better than ever. If you didn't know they weren't from Scandinavia, you be hard pressed to tell. On 'Black Wings', the band has honed their sound to a perfect mixture of old Cradle of Filth (Vempire especially), 'Anthems' era Emperor and 'Enthroned Darkness Triumphant' Dimmu Borgir. There are traces of the member's full time bands here as well, especially on 'Mark of Damnation', which sounds like unused riffs during the 'Demonic' sessions. But I digress, the leads here are killer and the trash influences do give the band their own identity so to speak. My only complaint is the constant, incessant keyboards of Lyle Livingston (Psypheria). On this album, he really nailed all the sounds of the 'Vempire' and 'Enthroned?' albums, but it never ceases, and gets rather distracting at times. Added to the stellar performances is a killer, beautifully done package and art work courtesy of Travis Smith and you can't go wrong. If you're into the more symphonic black metal bands and like those records listed above, you really cannot go wrong here. Derivative, sure, but so is everyone else. Al least this record slays. Now, where the hell is that new Testament record?