Released: 2011, Scarlet Records
Dotma were formed in Hyvinkää, Finland, a small town north of Helsinki in 2005. Fronted by Johanna Lesonen, the band are firmly in the camp of symphonic, female-fronted power metal. However, Johanna does share vocal duties on “Regard” with Vladimir Lumi, who utilizes a folk/goth style. This is a genre I enjoy, but admittedly it is becoming a bit saturated and it takes a Herculean effort to distance a band in this style from the scores of other bands without sounding generic. Dotma released two self-produced EPs in 2007 and 2009 before they spent about year writing and recording SLEEP PARALYSES which is their debut album. The album features several guest appearances, mostly from members of the bands Thaurorod and Embassy of Silence and was mixed in Sweden’s Cutting Room Studios.
With this style of music, there are basically two schools of vocals to utilize. One is the growled male vocals contrasted with operatic female vocals, or just straight female vocals. Dotma opt to let Johanna carry the vocals with a style that compares closely with Sabine Edelsbacher of Edenbridge, but Johanna has her own style, as evidenced on “Indian Fall” where she comes down from the upper registers to a successful croon. The album features 8 tracks of well-executed symphonic metal, admittedly with a leaning to the slower, more melodic side of the genre. There are not many heavy riffs, but the music is up to the task of providing the proper frame work and mood for the songs.
No question Dotma has potential, much of which has been realized on this debut. Inevitably, there is room for growth and the carving of a more unique persona, because at this point Dotma sound like any of a number of symphonic female-fronted metal bands. Thankfully, Dotma have done such a great job of execution, more of the same is not necessarily such a bad thing. Fans of Nightwish and Edenbridge will find much to like about Dotma.