Dormanth – IX Sins (2018) REVIEW

In my demo hunting and obscure cassette-digging journeys of the early 2000’s I eventually worked my way through Spain’s lo-fi underground death metal scene. In doing so, I discovered melodic death/doom band Dormanth for their relation to death/thrash metal band Nopresion. I did not like Nopresion’s Sepultura-style groove/thrash album ‘Visión’, but from there I was recommended Dormanth’s excellent ‘Sadness’ demo from 1994. The demo was a mix of melodic death metal and death/doom that had an abrupt melodic style that was worthy of a mid 90’s Arghoslent comparison. Yet their debut full-length in 1995 was a different beast that explored Peaceville three influences only slightly heard on the demo. ‘Valley of Dreams’ was far more sophisticated than ‘Sadness’ with an Amorphis level of melodic riffing and a sound close to Swedish death metal groups like Internal Decay or Infernal Gates. The influences that I heard back then are still largely alive in ‘IX Sins’ with heavy nods to Death and Paradise Lost.

‘Valley of Dreams’ is sorely overlooked to this day considering the popularity of the melodic death/doom metal at the time of release. Much of the album’s obscurity is likely due to the band’s dissolution a year after it was released with some members leaving to form mediocre band In Thousand Lakes instead. I had no idea that one member had reformed the group and put out a full-length, ‘Winter Comes’, in 2016. It was a decent record, though I don’t like programmed drums for this type of music. It was a return to the band’s original sound with an even more aggressive death metal style that lacked the Paradise Lost edge that defined earlier Dormanth. Thankfully those melodic influences are back in ‘IX Sins’ and the album better represents Dormanth’s signature sound.

“Like Ice” immediately burns itself into my subconscious as I try to remember where I’ve heard that riff before on a Paradise Lost album and by the time it is done spinning I couldn’t be bothered to look it up. The whole thing doesn’t borrow from that band’s early discography as much as it nods to Amorphis and Death throughout. I have to say, though, that the excitement I felt returning to this band’s sound was quickly bittered by the programmed drums. It isn’t that the drum machine sound bothers me so much, it just has a strange artificial sound to an otherwise rich and heavy melodic death metal recording. At some point I ignored the tone of the artificial drumming and was able to enjoy ‘IX Sins’ for the stylized guitar work but it still weakens the overall experience. Awesome to see this band active and kicking around a bunch of great ideas, here’s hoping for more in the future.

Note: The only preview clip available is on YouTube. But, before you gauge interest in the album make sure you at least hear “Like Ice” and “Promised Land” as well. 

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Artist Dormanth
Type Album
Released March 9, 2018
 BUY/LISTEN on their Bandcamp!  Follow Dormanth on Facebook
Genres

Icy wind blows over ancient paths. 3.0/5.0

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