DORMANT INFERNO / DIONYSUS 'Beyond Forgotten Shores' Review

‘Beyond Forgotten Shores’ is an unusual release for me to review, I usually avoid splits as one band’s endeavours are often superior to the other, but this offering is different, here the bands are well matched in their talents. It’s a five track release, spanning thirty seven minutes with three tracks from’ DORMANT INFERNO and two from ‘DIONYSUS’.

‘DORMANT INFERNO‘, from Mumbai pioneered the doom metal movement in India when the metal trend was all about death and thrash metal, bringing something musically bold and different to their region, their sound having evolved further since their independently released EP ‘In Sanity’ in 2011.

Their three faultless and moving tracks begin with ‘Veil of Lunacy’, a track with a perfect balance of the aggressive and the melodic and with the doom elements still maintaining that melody, giving a melancholic feel rather than a dirge, however that box does get ticked towards the close as the pace plummets, accompanied by well contrasting vocals, growls, hisses and deranged angry shouts, a superb track.

The second and longest track ‘Deliverance’ maintains that same feel but at a slower pace initially, with the temp rising and dropping with subtle direction shifts, midpoint dropping to a reflective, clean, single guitar, joined by whispering vocals before taking on a more doom laden slant, once again maintaining the melody, which has a very exotic, eastern feel across this track, picking up the pace towards the close.

Final track ‘A Once Holy Throne (Incantation)’may be the shortest of the three but it loses none of the qualities found on its predecessors, it has an unusually long opener taking up almost a third of its length and probably the most doom rich of the three, a quirky touch for such a short track, but still superb.

‘DIONYSUS’ come from an environment not welcoming to musicians creating metal music of any description, however they are not a band to let that stand in their way and ‘Beyond Forgotten Shores’ is the follow up to the internationally re-released ‘A Hymn to the Dying’ EP from the black/death/doom metal trio from Pakistan.

Forget any preconceived ideas, these two tracks were certainly not what I expected, hugely mood rich, well crafted and performed offerings, the first, the poignant ‘Beneath the Skies of War’, a hugely atmospheric, subtly melodic and emotive track, a mix of dirty edged riffs and melodic lead work, which almost has a folk like edge to it, beautifully offset by blackened vitriolic hissing vocals, great tempo and direction changing with the pace elevating significantly after the mid-point and the drum work coming more to the foreground and the final drop-away, it even has a slight smooth jazz tinge before the final vocal roar.

On the blackened ‘Rain’ a catchy dirty repeat riff opens and repeatedly returns to form the core, well utilised tempo and direction switching, with the pace rising to frantic proportions and plummeting to slow dark depths, all the while maintaining that dark dirty edge, this track also taking on a slower reflective quality overlaid by lead guitar work which sent my mind back to the heyday of progressive rock and all these elements gelling superbly.

The cover artwork was painted by the label owner, Kunal Choksi and ‘Beyond Forgotten Shores’ is available from Transcending Obscurity India, sub-label of Transcending Obscurity, although no video is available the album is available to listen to or buy here.

The standard of musicianship and quality of composition across these five tracks and two bands is outstanding, an enjoyable and easy listen end to end.

Review by Jools Green

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