Review: Dallian – Automata

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As I progressed into the heavier side of metal I found myself drawn to the merging of the symphonic with death metal. Ever since I first heard Septicflesh, I’ve been compelled to seek out simliar sounding bands. While there are a variety of symphonic death or symphonic black metal bands out there, Dallian from Portugal is the most recent one to totally capture my imagination. Formed in 2017, Dallian is a symphonic/progressive death metal band that merges their music with a “Steampunk” aesthetic. Last week, the band released their first album, Automata.

Automata starts off with a two minute long instrumental intro track called “Genesis of Awakening”. The band then hits hard on track two, “Satori (悟り)” which starts off sounding like Fleshgod Apocalypse before developing briefly into a Gojira-esque groove before returning back to the symphonic death metal sound. For the remainder of the track though, the sound bounces between this heavier sound and a softer more Orphaned Land feel but without seeming clunky.

As the album progresses to track three, “The Lie Vision” the band returns to a mostly heavier sound after a slightly clichéd carnival/circus intro. Next up on the album is “As Within, So Without”, which starts out with a sinister sounding intro of string instruments, as thundering double bass kicks into high gear, followed by a catchy guitar riff. By the end of the track, both the symphonic elements and double bass drums form an inseparable bond.

Track five is “Swallow the Sun”, a much more somber and mellower song. This particular tracks reminds me of Black Crown Initiate with its mellower tone. In spite of its mellower sound, the heaviness is never far from the surface and it does occasionally leap out at the listener to great effect. Complimenting this are a few very restrained, but satisfying guitar solo towards the end of the track. Returning to the band’s faster, heavier aggressive sound is “Corrupt Demiurge” which makes subtle use of what sounds like Portuguese Guitar to great effect. What I love the most  is the occasional hint of an almost djenty sound towards the middle of the track, then returning again with some Portuguese Guitar before finally settling into some pummeling symphonic death metal.

Coming in as track number seven on the album is “The Nun From Azrael” a track which mostly eschews the band’s symphonic and progressive elements, save for a brief moment, in favor of a full on assault of the listener’s ears. Track eight, “Caixa Pensatória” sees the return of the Portuguese Guitar to the album which is used flawlessly on this track. The last minute and a half of the track is mostly soft affair with the band utilizing a female vocalist and more of the Portuguese Guitar with the metal influences taking mostly a backseat.

Coming in as Track nine is “A Lullaby For The Wicked.” Save for the beginning of this track, this song is anything but a lullaby. The song hammers away at the listener grinding them down to dust. Track ten, “Vãsanã (वासना)”, resumes the assault started on track nine with the band merging a Speticflesh sound with hints of djent, instead of sounding confused it sounds nearly flawless. The near flawlessness of this album is broken with the spoken word track “Echoes Of Arrival”. This track is nearly two minutes long, which is a bit long for a spoken word track in my opinion and it doesn’t really add anything to the album, save for some exposition to the album’s narrative.

Coming in as track twelves is “The Swine Dialectic” which continues the Septicflesh sound, but while adding what is perhaps, the best guitar solo on the album. Just when you think you might be getting tired of the album, Dallian finds a way to spice up the track just enough. Closing out the album is the aptly named “A Closure in Crisis” which acts as the album’s funeral march as it gradually fades into silence.

When it comes to a band’s first release I never expect perfection or anything close to it, but with Automata Dallian has gotten pretty close. The only flaw on this album is track eleven, which is “Echoes of Arrival” which really interrupts the flow of the album for me. Spoken word track aside, this album hits all the right buttons and I give it 4.5 Flaming Toilets ov Hell out of 5.

You can check out Dallian by visiting their Facebook page or heading over to their Bandcamp, where you can stream and purchase their music.

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