With the exception of NIGHTWISH and THERION (during their more bombastic moments) Symphonic Metal isn’t really my thing. I can appreciate the supposed beauty and melodic flair of said style but more often than not these elements drown out the grit that I want to hear in a Metal album. Anyway, AESMA DAEVA seem to have garnered more than a few positive reviews for their previous works so when I got hold of this promo I had an inkling that it may actually be worth a listen. How wrong I was…
Seeing as how Metal albums have come packaged with anything from lighters to razor blades I suggest this album (or a future re-release of it) be accompanied by a nice fluffy pillow, since “Dawn Of The New Athens” is without a doubt one of the most lifeless and coma-inducing albums I’ve heard all year. I hate to be mean but this album will put any listener to sleep real quick. Most symphonic/operatic bands are guilty of going overboard with vocal and instrumental histrionics but this album is the complete opposite – it’s slow, plodding and never gets out of first gear. Yes, there are a few nifty instrumental moments here, especially the somewhat ethereal flute lines, but for the most part this album completely listless. Lori Lewis’s (also of THERION fame) operatic vocals are in fine form but she never has any solid guitar riffs or string sequences to back her up, and when the guitars come a bit more to the fore it comes off as sloppy and forced. The various string instruments, keyboards and flutes are all adequately played but at no point do really compliments or provide some sort of counterpoint to Lori’s singing. It’s a shame really since most of these songs start off really well, only to degenerate into lifeless drivel after the first minute or so. Another irritating aspect is that this album is severely lacking in coherency, with many of the instrumental sections blending into one another without any natural sequence or the like. During one track these strange violin “licks” pop up and it sounds almost exactly like a car hooter! Not very cool.
“The Bluish Shade” is one such track – it has a really cool intro that sounds neither happy nor brooding but before you know it the track is over and there’s nothing else to remember it by. “Artemis” features some more emotional vocal lines and a subtle keys presence, which is good, but as a whole this track never goes anywhere either. The same can be said of “D’Oreste” a track that features some quite frankly hideous vocal arrangements. The closer, “The Loon”, may just be the strongest track on here, mainly because it keeps with the same orchestration throughout and the moody intro isn’t too bad at all. The rest is all unforgivably bland and void of anything worthwhile, and this is an opinion formed after numerous listens.
A severely flawed album by a band that definitely needs to grow some balls, musically speaking.
(Online September 16, 2007)