Deschain - _Upon the Oaken Throne_
(Independent, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (5.5 out of 10)
For a gastronomical thought experiment, arrange the following foods in a single file along the kitchen counter and eat them one after another: a cup of cooked rice, some diced chicken, a slice of cheese, a bite of onion, a spoonful of corn, an avocado, one mouthful of sour cream and another of cilantro, one flour tortilla, and half a tomato. By the last bite you might feel pleasantly full, but while you've chowed down all the ingredients of a perfect burrito, it's their layering and not merely their presence that provides a satisfying meal.

Deschain's debut operates much like that Scooby snack snafu. While the great pagan/post-black opuses by such luminaries as Agalloch or Negura Bunget harness the muse at several levels simultaneously (including chord choices, percussive patterns, melodic interplay, vocal style and content), this Indiana collective tends to highlight each new musical idea in near isolation. Whether those decisions rose from the compositional approach or during the mixing process is not entirely clear, but this crew's melodic black concoction would benefit from blending several inspired passages into a denser creation. In this style of music, it's the multiplicity of stirring ideas at each moment that encourages repeat spins and fanatical fervor in its followers. Almost paradoxically, clean guitar leads actually gather power when they lurk behind the song's noisier constituents, like that girl whose slinky appeal spikes in direct proportion with how unattainable she is. Or, you know, not like that. But you get the point, and Deschain should, too.

But _Upon the Oaken Throne_ is all about reaching for it, and there's a lot to like about these six exercises in proggy darkness (five of which scrape or shatter the ten minute mark). The melodies that surface regularly throughout are engaging and unexpectedly spry. The vocals are full of personality, approaching the timbre of a high speed belt sander equipped with a fine grit. The second half of "Black Horses" finally gathers band strengths for a brutal punch-out, and "Epitaphs Part 2" splits homage time between Hooded Menace and scene darlings/demons Krallice. There's a lot to like; I'm not saying that avocados aren't yummy, but I'll always prefer a well-spiced guacamole.

Contact: http://deschainmetal.bandcamp.com/

(article published 22/8/2011)


ALBUMS
4/2/2012 D Lake 7.5 Deschain - Sea of Trees, Forest of Gallows
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