Album: Pillars of Creation
Label: Metalbox Recordings
It’s fair to say that Dendera have, for some time now, been the prennial support band for metal gigs on the south coast. Always a popular choice on the night, but never quite making the impact that they perhaps deserve. This is partly owing to the stark contrast in quality between their live show and their recorded output. That is, up until now.
While 2013’s spirited The Killing Floor contained fleeting glimpses of what the band is capable of, it lacked that certain spark to make it stand out from other, similar, local acts. Pillars of Creation is the first recorded effort by the Portsmouth 5-piece, that feels like a proper, professionally recorded album, the first time THAT live energy has been successfully transferred to disk, and crucially, the first time the band seem to have found “their” sound. Moving on from the Maiden worship of the first album, there are still elements of classic heavy metal to be found, but this is an altogether different beast. Out are the King Diamond-esque screams and in are leviathan-sized riffs, more vocal harmonies than you could shake a fucking big stick at, tied together by absolutely flawless production.
The result of this is a more mature, yet more modern sounding record. Owing as much to Killswitch Engage as it does to Judas Priest, with some progressive flair thown in just for good measure. Opening track ‘Claim our Throne’ almost sounds like a mission statement from Dendera. It’s dark, moody intro soon giving way to one of those riffs that will have you in a neck brace if you listen to it too often. Song number three is the, recently previewed at live shows, ‘In High Tide’. A track, scientifically proven to be catchier than the common cold.
Having decided to stick with an eight song record, the Dendera lads are obviously believers in quality over quantity. Something which many bands overlook, their better tracks getting lost in a sea of filler. Definitely not a criticism that can be made of Pillars of Creation. Each track is just as listenable as the last, and the album’s epic finalé, verging on nine minutes long: ‘Edge of Tomorrow’, is by a long way the band’s finest accomplishment to date and one of the best songs likely to be released this year.
This is the record which could see Dendera finally push themselves into the conciousness of the Heavy Metal mainstream. A place they definitely deserve to be.
Words: Alex Loach