Dragonauta - _Luciferatu_
(Dias de Garage, 2003)
by: T. DePalma (6 out of 10)
Boasting a reputation as Argentina's first doom band, Dragonauta effectively reproduce the late '60s / '70s "jam" sound, channeling the first Black Sabbath record or even Jimi Hendrix integrated with jazz rhythm and Spanish guitar. The "doom" aspect of this record is lacking in spots; it shares more kinship with the "stoner rock" sound -- that starry, foot dragging vibe. Not so much a feeling of darkness though the bridge seems to be a lax interest in the occult. The album opens with an upbeat rock riff (and plenty of unmerciful cowbell) before gassing out into an excellent limbo of softly stepping drums and bass, with clean but thick guitars that levitate like fat hummingbirds in stale air. The only real downer on this record (besides the vocals, which sound more appropriate for a speed metal outfit) is the lack of follow-through in songwriting that surrounds these evocative moments.

Though able to conjure up moods that are nostalgic and at times unique, Dragonauta are lacking in their ability to deliver strong riffs in combination with the shapeless jam-rock atmosphere the way their idols did, creating potholes of trite sound along the way. And at times a dead end: "Funeral Magico" is an example where the band works completely off the Sabbath blueprint -- no less than their self-titled classic song. The problem here isn't that it's hardly original, but that it doesn't build to nearly the same dynamic climax, leaving the listener with no release of the tension that builds throughout the entire song. If you're going to imitate to this degree already, you better go all the fucking way. Still, _Luciferatu_ is a neat cut across the spectrum from the cult of downtuned overdrive lords like Electric Wizard and Sleep; for retro enthusiasts the laid back, drifting vibe and variation this album is saturated in is ultimately it's main attractive quality and should appeal to fiends of both persuasions.

This CD also contains a CD-ROM video file of live footage and interviews with the band.

Contact: http://www.dragonauta.com.ar

(article published 31/8/2004)

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