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Dendera - "Pillars Of Creation" (CD)

Dendera - "Pillars Of Creation" CD cover image

"Pillars Of Creation" track listing:

1. Claim Our Throne
2. Bloodlust
3. In High Tide
4. Disillusioned
5. The Daylight Ending
6. The Chosen One
7. Unholy
8. Edge Of Tomorrow

Reviewed by on June 18, 2015

"The material draws influences from a myriad of styles: melodic rock, power metal, traditional, thrash and even a touch of Southern rock chug, with a the focus squarely on hooking in the listener….and hooking it does."

Locked away somewhere in Portsmouth, U.K. lies a diamond in the rough. Dendera broke out on the scene in 2011 (three years after forming) with the EP “We Must Fight.” Catching the attention of Metalbox Recordings, the impressive debut “The Killing Floor” was issued in 2013 with excellent, but frighteningly small press coverage (even here at Metal Underground). Right, I know…you probably never heard of them (we hear that a lot). Two years removed, the impending sophomore effort “Pillars of Creation” is ready to strike an unsuspecting world and this author won’t stand for anymore ignorance on behalf of the metal press. Sporting plump juicy riffs and one of the most underrated vocalists in the world, Dendera cannot be denied…the time is now.

So what makes “Pillars of Creation” so stunning? Well, if interesting songs, remarkable riffs, and killer vocals annoy you in music, then nothing really. In previous reviews, I've written a lot about bands being able to capturing that essence of just “going for it” – and it is the difference maker here. The debut “The Killing Floor” was surely a force, but there is something about Ashley’s voice, Stephen’s leads, David’s riffs, Bradley’s strums, and Andy’s bashing here that vastly outperforms it. The material draws influences from a myriad of styles: melodic rock, power metal, traditional, thrash and even a touch of Southern rock chug, with a the focus squarely on hooking in the listener….and hooking it does.

Without a doubt, “Bloodlust” and “The Chosen One” are far and away the best songs in the short Dendera catalog, which means the sky is the limit. If the “right for the throat” thrashing style of “Bloodlust” and that opening riff of “The Chosen One” don’t grab you – then I’m sorry to tell you that you probably don’t appreciate metal all that much. Add to that some huge beefy riffs in songs like “In High Tide” and “Edge of Tomorrow” – where Ashley’s vocals sound peculiarly like Threshold’s Damian Wilson – the groove smacked “Disillusioned, the unwieldy gallop in “The Daylight Ending” and the charging impassioned “Unholy.”

The production is pristine and clear. The overall guitar tone has a typical grind found in most death metal, so its use in a power/traditional style gives “Pillars of Creation” even more heft. I’d even go as far as saying that “Disillusioned” has glimpses of Unleashed. With so many great moments, it is hard to find any flaws here, but for those relating to personal tastes. The material is a solid as it comes and the band plays it just as impressive as top notch veterans.

If you are looking for a traditional act that mixes a myriad of styles for a form of heavy metal that exudes both power and a touch of groove, with an emphasis of heaviness, riffs and blazing leads and melodious hooks – then you need to check out Dendera’s “Pillars of Creation.” If you are unfamiliar with the band, this is the best place to start. If you heard “The Killing Floor” and it left you underwhelmed – then this one might sneak up and surprise you. Whatever the reason, Dendera has now stuck a chord and the world needs to take notice.

Highs: High octane and blisteringly heavy metal assault.

Lows: The album doesn't offer anything game changing for those seeking something different.

Bottom line: No sophomore jinx here, as Dendera establishes its own "Pillars of Creation."

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)