I have made pretty good experiences with Israeli bands so far, as that country has given us the likes of ORPHANED LAND, ETERNAL GRAY or SALEM, so when “Memorial”, the debut of Oriental Death Metal band DISTORTED made its way into my CD player, I was intrigued, not least thanks to the promise of “Oriental” in their description.
And opener “Illusive” indeed keeps this highly interesting promise with a lot of power, Death Metal vocals, very good female vocals and a light oriental undertone to it, so for a change the self-given style description seems to fit! But in the course of this album DISTORTED show that they are far more than just this one sound, especially thanks to the enchanting voice of Miri Milman, which adds a lot of atmosphere and variety to the already pretty variable songs.
So what have we learned so far? The quartet plays variable Death Metal with oriental touches and excellent female vocals. Yes, this would be the most probably most compact description I could slap onto DISTORTED’s sound. And it works great, because the title track proves everything they need to, with a lot of power, tempo changes between calm and double-bass, female and Death vocals, great melodies and very nice dynamics, what more could you ask for? Be it the unusual percussion of “Flesh And Blood”? The clear guitars at the beginning of “Sometimes”? The bombast of “In Your Light”? Or maybe the dense atmosphere of “Hesped”? There you go, you have it.
The Israelis manage to take these elements from Death Metal, some Gothic touches, a light progressive flavour and a few oriental flourishes and combine them into something not necessarily unique, but for a debut effort surprisingly good and cohesive. “Memorial” definitely exceeded my expectations and thanks to its crisp and clear production also manages to keep the details in the picture, which the compositions greatly benefit of.
Comparisons with their countrymen of ORPHANED LAND do not really hit the mark, as they (DISTORTED) feature a lot more prominent female vocals and do not operate on an as extremely diversified level, yet they lay a very promising foundation that they should be able to build on for years to come and hopefully will soon elevate them into the upper echelons of Israeli Metal, I will definitely keep my eye open for them and advise you do the same!
Oh, there are two different versions of “Memorial” out there, an Israeli and a European one with differing track lists.
(Online January 12, 2007)