Dantesco
Pagano

We often throw around the word “operatic” loosely when discussing certain genres of metal. But every now and then, you get something that truly earns that description.Musically, Dantesco plays some pretty solid, if fairly standard doom. They offer up some nice, plodding riffs, often influenced by traditional metal. What makes the band stand out from the crowd, though I’m not sure exactly whether it’s in a good or a bad way, is vocalist Erico La Bestia, who often sounds like he’s singing for the Metropolitan Opera rather than a Puerto Rican doom band. It’s an interesting approach, though, in all honesty, it doesn’t always quite fit the music, particularly on more traditional metal-flavored tunes like opener “Santa Croce Titulus.”

I’d like to offer some details about the band, but having not been used in quite some time, my Spanish is awful these days, and I couldn’t find an English bio on them. About all I could glean from their site was that they hail from Puerto Rico and this is their second full-length album, the first arriving in 2005.

Perhaps it’s the “ugly American” in me, but that’s also something that kept me from getting into the music a little more. While I love a song like “Su Sangre es Mia” (which I translate in my broken Spanish to “Your Blood is Mine” – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong), it’s a little hard, especially with doom, to get into it when I don’t know what they’re singing about. I realize this is completely my problem, and not the band’s, but it did affect my enjoyment of the record.

Despite my language barrier there are some very strong songs scattered throughout the record. “Exorcista” sticks out for the elegant lead guitar work on the slower opening of the song. “Por Tu Santo Amor” opens with some interesting, almost chanted, vocals, but La Bestia’s vocals get a little annoying as the song goes on as he drops the operatic tones for a kind of screech that doesn’t really work.

Perhaps the most striking thing, other than La Bestia’s voice, about the band is the Spanish-flavored acoustic guitars that they sprinkle around on songs like the aforementioned “Exorcista” and particularly “De La Mano de La Muerta,” one of the strongest tunes on the record, even though there’s not a trace of metal in it.

Dantesco does throw a bone to the “ugly American” in me with one of the final numbers, “I Came From Hell.” Strangely, changing languages seems to have completely altered their sound. I guess English doesn’t lend itself well to opera. La Bestia takes on a high-pitched Rob Halford-style vocal for “I Came From Hell,” which is very heavily influenced by Priest and doesn’t seem to fit this record at all.

Pagano is a very interesting piece. It sounds a bit like Candlemass taken way, way, way over the top. It’s probably worth a listen for fans of that style of doom, but it’s all just a bit too much for me.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Fred Phillips
June 27th, 2008

Comments

  1. Commented by: swampthang

    some review labeled these chicos the first puerto rican power metal but i guess that guy must have not listened to them because as you are saying they is doom.


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