Deschain - _Sea of Trees, Forest of Gallows_
(Independent, 2011)
by: Dan Lake (7.5 out of 10)
It's easy to admire Deschain's approach to writing and recording its sprawling opuses (eight, as of last count). The band owes much of its sound to the various waves of black metal, but none of its atmosphere. On _Sea of Trees, Forest of Gallows_, the blast beats and anguished rasps and hard-edged guitars crackle with volcanic heat rather than snowy mountain chill. Deschain seek the same wide-eyed catharsis offered by so many unfashionable post-tagged bands: witness the crescendos, the blood-boiling melodies, the periods of slow ambience, the earth-cracking aggressive low end in support of towering guitar leads. Ideas and influences explode in all directions, ranging from ditch-digging doom to a battle-ready pagan gallop to head-nodding hard rock. The ebb and flow of these varied movements lend the music a narrative complexity rather than feeling like an overeager frenzy. In fact, all the sections weave together into a supremely cinematic experience that often feels visual as much as auditory.

The only other Deschain I know is the surname of Stephen King's charmed/doomed royal family in the Dark Tower saga. The comparison fits. King's epic refuses the confines of genre and easy structure, drawing from westerns and hard-boiled noir as much as horror and fantasy. The story even grew beyond novel form into a striking series of comic books and flirting with Hollywood and television. The band's ambitions strain with the same widescreen intent, all the more noble for being label-less and appearing to bubble out of their creator in stunning abundance. Roland and his tet would be proud.


(article published 2/4/2012)

8/22/2011 D Lake 5.5 Deschain - Upon the Oaken Throne
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