Released: 2005, Escapi Music
Ah Dragonlord, the band blessed with loads of talent, great album covers, and a great push, but unable to do anything spectacular with those tools, has returned after a four-year hiatus with their second album. My above assessment of Eric Peterson and his assembled ghouls is based on their first album, RAPTURE from 2001. Taking a break from Testament, Peterson created a brutal, violent Dimmu Borgir record. Well played and crushing though it was, RAPTURE was still just a Dimmu Borgir album with a different name.
Skip ahead to 2005, and Peterson has returned with the follow-up (w/cool title included), BLACK WINGS OF DESTINY. Are the results any different? Sadly, no. The minute that “The Curse of Woe” kicks in to high gear, you will instantly be transported back to 1997 and the landmark “ENTRHONE DARKNESS TRIUMPHANT album by…you guessed it!...Dimmu Borgir. Peterson’s vocals recall Shagrath, and the windy, semi-creepy song-structures are straight out of the Norsemen’s handbook.
Of course, this is not to say that BLACK WINGS OF DESTINY sucks. On the contrary, it is another excellent record, well-played, well-produced, and competently constructed. It’s just that we’ve heard this before, several times. I understand that side projects like Dragonlord are meant to show off another facet of an artist’s thoughts, but there is nothing new here.
What IS here is some very good melodic black metal. “Sins of Allegiance” crushes amidst the hauntings of Lyle Livingston’s keyboards, while the short “Black Funeral” has one of the catchiest riffs to come out of black metal in 2005. Of special (odd?) note is album closer “Emerald”, a vicious cover of the classic Thin Lizzy song, featuring clean, melodic vocals from Peterson.
After all is done, Dragonlord has yet to put out a bad album, but they have yet to show any originality either. Are they worth checking out? Most definitely. Are they worth buying? That depends on the kind of mileage your get out of melodic black metal and your tolerance for copycats.