Review by Tobias on November 28, 2001.
This disc is All-American Evil. Here’s a real life application for the seething madness that is Dragonlord; I was ready to hunt down someone from Seagate Software and hold a public execution, but thanks to Dragonlord’s all-out black fury, I managed to pass the day without decapitating anybody. See people, metal saves.
And Dragonlord will make you believe.
For those of you who aren’t on the “in” yet, Rapture is the debut album from the brainchild of Testament’s founding guitarist Eric Peterson. As one might expect, the guitars are an obliterating work that demands the listener’s astute attention, lest he be mowed over by it.
But the guitars aren’t the only thing that Eric excels at; for the first time, we get to hear the voice behind the blistered fingers. This is an outstandingly intense and surprisingly dynamic black-metal vocal performance that has a great earthy feel to it.
The dark-symphonic keyboards are mixed in very well, in fact, I can’t imagine it being done better than this. Not too much, and certainly not too little, their function ranges from creating the atmosphere to subtly freaking you out in a similar vein to Sigh or Mr. Bungle. But where those two bands cream you with the sound, Dragonlord uses it in a far less pronounced fashion.
These guys are pros; there is no getting around that. Everything is so well executed, it becomes a challenge to find faults. The driven and tight drumming will likely make you get up and start running without knowing why. I could buy this disc for the drumming alone on Judgement Failed and the title track.
As time goes on and metal gets older, it becomes more and more difficult to write lyrics that haven’t been done a thousand times over. Even the stigma of dark metal seems to dictate that you must have at least one song with the words “chaos” and “prophecy” in it. Is this a bad thing? I don’t know, it seems sort of a package deal, but it could be improved.
So who do they sound like? It’s not that easy to pin down, but one might say that if Dimmu, In Flames and Testament all hopped on an orgy train, their love-gravy would likely result in something almost as good as Dragonlord. If you send me an email asking who would be the preggy, my decapitation hiatus will be repealed.
Bottom Line: Prepare to get slashed and burned by some real American evil… so evil it’s almost sexy. This is one of the best releases this year… and it’s a debut, god save us.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 9.2 of 10