Dreadnought
A Wake in Sacred Waves

There are a few records that left an indelible mark on me as a young metal head. One such record was Fleurety’s 1995 debut, Mid Tid Skal Komme.  And most of it was due to the vocals of Marian Aas Hansen, who added a bluesy, sultry sway to the avante garde black metal. Another more recent effort was Grayceon’s self titled 2007 debut, largely in part to Jackie Perez Gratz’s voice and cello.

So you can imagine how far my jaw dropped when I discovered the third effort from Denver’s Dreadnought with immediately brought both artists and releases to mind. Replace Hansen with Lauren Vieira’s similarly bluesy and evocative croon (and her dreamy keyboards) and replace Gratz’s cello with Kelly Schilling’s flute (also her own clean croons, harsh rasps and guitars) and the addition to a saxophone and a mandolin, you get a hypnotic, ambitious mix of the the above with some Oathbreaker and and you have the recipe for one of the more alluring, challenging records of the year.

With an aquatic elemental theme based on the rise and fall of an oceanic apex predator, the 4 rangy songs comprise of over 50 minutes of stunning music that embraces everything from doom, the black, to post rock to blues and instrumental music. The 17 minute “Vacant Sea” gets things going with the first 2 minutes alone encapsulating what the rest of the album delivers: delicate female croons, some shrill rasps, some delicate keys, some tremolo picked riffage and a psychedelic sway that carries you away on the tide. About 8 minutes in, you get the first Saxophone moment courtesy of drummer Jordan Clancy, and on head phones, it and its acoustic follow up is simply gorgeous.

As if the first track wasn’t enthralling enough, the next 3 “With Chanting Waters”, “To Luminous Scale” and “A Drifting Reign”, while slightly shorter, all deliver the same amount of ethereal beauty. “With Chanting Waters” really got me recalling Fleurety with a jazzy female vocal lead opening before a more caustic blast beat, but a wondrous mid song flute/ sax duet and screeching climax shows the depth and texture of this quartet. “To Luminous Scale” is the more discordant of the 4 tracks, before closer “A Drifting Reign” ends with fitting climax and closure to the story and a beautiful piano close out from Vieira.

This is the kind of record that will drive the Myrkur hating, black metal traditionalists nuts. But those guys cool with the likes Wolves in the Throne Room, Oathbreaker,  Ghost Bath, Giant Squid, Alcest,  et all, will find something to like here, and personally, it’s one of the most engaging records of the year.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
November 22nd, 2017

Comments

  1. Commented by: Glenn Whitehead

    Fleurety and Giant Squid…sold!


  2. Commented by: Jay

    This is good stuff. Definitely hearing some Giant Squid circa “Metridium Fields” in here along with some angry blackened swerves, etc. Killer review boss man!


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