Dragonlord - _Rapture_
(Spitfire Records, 2001)
by: Aaron McKay (9.5 out of 10)
I can't help but think of the TSR fantasy series written by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman entitled "Dragonlance" when I think of Eric Peterson's new undertaking. Yup, you read that right, Eric Peterson of Testament. What's more is Dragonlord is an atmospheric black metal project -and- Peterson carries the vocal duties, too. Interesting, huh? I sure was impressed. Much like the M. Night Shyamalan movie with Bruce Willis, "The Sixth Sense", I thoroughly enjoy being taken by surprise and Dragonlord did exactly that! As I look into the makeup of the band, I begin to question my astonishment as the musicians assembled here are nothing short of phenomenal. Of course, Mr. Peterson plays guitar as well as brandishing the blackened death metal vocals. The much accomplished Steve DiGiorgio (Death/Testament), the touring guitarist for Testament, Steve Smyth, on drums, Jon Allen (Sadus), and wonderfully elaborate keyboard workings from Lyle Livingston (Psypheria) complete the line-up. As a side note, if you have the chance, I'd recommend taking a listen to _Plague's End_ by Psypheria. While I do not own it, the one time I was fortunate enough to hear it, I was justifiably impressed. I now pacify myself by wondering by the website and taking a listen to the band's posted clips there every now and again (www.psypheria.com). Anyway, I understand Psypheria will be in Milwaukee, so I hope to catch 'em live at the MetalFest. -Now- back to Dragonlord's captivating debut. In addition to highly superior packaging, _Rapture_'s track six, "Wolfhunt", pushes the limits to sounding like something off of Gorgoroth's _Destroyer_ [CoC #33]. "Tradition and Fire" exudes a pure blend of black -and- death metal as all the pieces come together like a 3D puzzle of Merlin's castle from Arthurian legend. "Born of Darkness" and the title track are classic expositions on all the underlying talent of these veterans of music, but newcomers to the genre. Everything works here; the forcefulness of the material, the comprehensible, but raucous vocals, and the aptitude of the musicians. The world Weis and Hickman created with the "Dragonlance" series is abundant and on-going. I can only hope we can expect a similar showing from Dragonlord. The pool of inspiration this group could draw from seems limitless and I anxiously await the next chapter in the Dragonlan... er, ah -Dragonlord- saga. Careful not to disturb the dragon's slumber.

(article published 12/8/2001)

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