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Some Dreary Songs.... and other tunes from the shadows
Released: 2000, Mandrahgora
I know that the long CD title will probably make you think that this is a black metal band. Not so. Drearylands play "heavy metal songs with melodic lines near to medieval sounds, featuring choirs, violins and classical acoustic guitars". Drearylands was formed in Brazil in 1994 and originally went under the name of Shadows. The band toured and honed their sound for 4 years releasing 2 demo tapes and appearing on a few compilations till internal squabbles nearly ended their run in 1998. Four of the original members decided to carry on under a new name. Now Drearylands consisted of Jason Bittencourt: guitar and vocals, Louis Bear: drums and vocals, Rick Iglesias: bass and vocals and Leo "Lion" Leao on lead vocals. The search was on for a guitarist and Patrick Amorim was it. The lineup was now complete so the band independently recorded their debut CD Some Dreary Songs. As I have said, the band plays heavy metal with some different twists and turns thrown in. Drearylands are not a powermetal band so we get none of the symphonic elements of Rhapsody but in its place is a melding of a more classic metal sound with traditional instruments to create a fairly unique sound.
CD opener is the track "The Worst Enemy". This tune is a more straight ahead plodding metal track which alternates between its midtempo verse and its uptempo verse. "Sailors of the Argo" deals with the journey of Jason and the Argonauts to retrieve the Golden Fleece. Lion has a powerful voice that has a rough edge that lends bite to this track. At times this track is Maidenesque without actually copying the masters. "Boring Life" is where we see the band fully utilize its traditional elements. Violin, choirs and classical guitar all add atmosphere to this track which is one of the best on the release. Its here that this CD actually kicks into gear. If there are any thoughts of this release being comprised of a few good songs and then the rest filler, then they can be laid to rest now. This release only gets better the further along it goes. "Story of the Hero" opens with a classical intro and then just kicks it into high gear. Some great guitar harmonies highlight this tune. They keep the tempo up with "Lady Light" and close out the disc with the mini epic "Blindfold Eyes". This is a possibly the best tune on the release at it has a great arrangement and some great guitar and vocal work.
This CD surprised me. The production is great and the arrangements are top notch. The use of the traditional instruments does not seem forced and are a seamless part of the songs. Lions voice goes from a smooth croon to a death wail at the drop of a violin which makes the songs that much more emotional and powerful. If there is one little thing I can pick on it is the production. It sounds good for a self produced CD but I would love to hear these guys with a decent production budget. It could put them over the top. Seems that Brazil will has another great export for the metal world. To read more about the band check out their website: http://www.e-net.com.br/drearylands/
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