Dagor Dagorath - Yether Ha’Ra

7 songs
49:33 minutes
***** ****


Up until now Orphaned Land were doubtlessly the uncrowned metal kings of Israel, with good reason, because their music was excellent right from the start. I have to admit that I didn’t know many other bands from that country, but this has changed now with Dagor Dagorath whose debut album Yether Ha’Ra is working hard to set new standards in pagan metal.

They are hardly newcomers, as the three members, supported by two session musicians, started already in 2002 and released a demo and two split-albums before their first longplayer. Tolkien aficionados will know that the band name has been taken from an epic battle in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and just like the barbaric butchery described in the fantasy classic, Dagor Dagorath hardly spare their instruments. The band plays fast black metal bursting with breaks and playfulness. The vocals switch between evil growls and fierce screams, with the musicians doing their best on their instruments. At times they act symphonically, drawing parallels to Dimmu Borgir and Ancient. Their darker parts full of gloom are not unlike the avant-garde Celtic Frost. Despite being located mostly in fast paced territories, Dagor Dagorath keep many surprises up their sleeves. Especially the accordion on The Call and the Balkan influences on Vicious Circle, the record’s most atmospheric track, stand out. Some parts have a deliberate chaotic and confusing feeling, which works also quite appealingly.

It would be futile to directly compare Orphaned Land with Dagor Dagorath, as both bands play very different kinds of metal. But you have to grant both of them that they are never afraid to venture outside stylistic constraints. I don’t know if this is common with Israeli metal band, but these two great ambassadors from the Near East make you hungry for more.

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