Originally posted on NYSMUSIC on February 3rd, 2015
If you answered yes to both of these questions, Dethlehem is a band you need to know about, if you don’t already.
Simply put, the music of Dethlehem serves as a portal to a wondrous realm of knights, maidens, dragons, wizards, witches, and ghastly nocturnal creatures. Hailing from Pittsburgh, PA these five heroes have spent the last seven years treating their audiences to a true fantasy RPG experience, through both their live shows and studio recordings.
Their latest album, Destroyers of the Realm, is no exception. From start to finish, this 11 track adventure uses crushing war drums, superb guitar riffs and solos, beautifully layered and diverse vocals, and a tasteful low end, to cut through the fabric of space and time. It transports the listener to a metal nerd’s utopia, where the only rules stem from the limits of your XP and your luck with the dice.
Presentation is very important to this band. Not only do they grace the stage covered in medieval battle armor, they also made sure to put just as much effort into the physical copies of their latest album. Visiting their bandcamp page and downloading a digital copy scores you an issue of their digital comic book, but buying a deluxe hard copy from the same site ensures a separate lyric sheet. It comes off as a medieval scroll with burnt edges, and encapsulating the entire package, is a custom sleeve with the band’s royal seal stamped on it with red candle wax.
The album kicks off with an 8 minute battle called Knightmare. This tune goes off in several directions throughout, but the diversity of the song never takes away from its flow. This band is very good with song structure in that regard. Each song is a well conceived part of an overall story and never fails to hit its mark. The guitar riffs are catchy and spot on with their genre, reminiscent of the guitar work on The Jester Race, Whoracle or Colony by In Flames. The solos are very driving, but also just as catchy as the riffing. If you’re a fan of hooky leads with a slight power metal feel, then these licks are for you.
Oathbound follows Knightmare and serves as an ideal single and perfect representation of this band’s sound. It’s hard-hitting, with no regrets and leaves you wanting more. Simply scroll down for the video and allow it to speak for itself.
The record also never loses its RPG feel. Several guest performances were included on this record to make certain of that. Haunting narrations make their way on and off certain tracks. The album also contains three interludes, during which the listener is transported back to a D & D setting, where only the dungeon master’s words can dictate the next chain of events.
Enchanting female vocals, courtesy of Clarissa Badini appear on the track, Shadow Remnants of the Guardian Shield, and the URIZEN boys’ choir also appears on the same track, taking on the roles of a group of dwarfs. This is also the longest track on the album, at 9:08. It’s a true testament to the band’s level of admirable musicianship as a whole.
The shortest actual song on the album is Oathbound, clocking in at 3:52. However, the majority of the full songs, not counting the interludes, hover in between 6 and 9 minutes. Fans of this genre shouldn’t be disappointed by the longer tracks. These are very multi-dimensional songs, with great dynamics and skilled layering across the board. Simply put, they remain interesting for their duration.
Dethlehem will be in Clarence NY on June 13 for an outdoor folk metal festival. Fans of the band and their new album Destroyers of the Realm are urged to come out and hear these tracks played live, along with some of the best talent the WNY metal scene has to offer!
Key Tracks: Knightmare, Oathbound, Shadow Remnants of the Guardian Shield