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Dukatalon - "Saved By Fear" (CD)

Dukatalon - "Saved By Fear" CD cover image

"Saved By Fear" track listing:

1. Peis
2. Run
3. ZX
4. Vagabond
5. Saved By Fear
6. Electric Site
7. Gate of Mind
8. Mekonenet

Reviewed by on December 27, 2010

"Dukatalon has some unique features and are plenty heavy when it comes to noise jam. The problem with this release is the lack of direction to the material, along with the slipshod production that oftentimes makes the vocals a non entity."

Sludge metal can originate from anywhere, so why not Israel? That region of the world has more than its fair share of strife and what better way to translate it than into a maudlin heap of ambient sludge metal. That is what Dukatalon is attempting with their first full length, "Saved By Fear."

This Israeli three piece band partake in heavy chord emissions courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Zafrir Zori. Upon listening to the first musical strains of the album, one can pretty much detect that these are not Anglo musicians. Dukatalon is riff-heavy with an atonal sound that borrows from eastern-sounding music. In that instance, they are different from most of the sludge/doom bands that I have heard. "Vagabond" is the single of sorts - the one that has been circulating around and is probably the catchiest and most memorable from the record. The vocals are bestial and the song drones on pleasantly loud. "Run" commences with a nice drum solo, before undulating nicely into a loopy guitar rhythm throughout the song.

Unfortunately, the rest of "Saved By Fear" needs work. The production is such that the music drowns out the vocals in all but a couple of the tracks. It's too bad because in songs like "Gate of Mind," Zafrir uses some cool echoing effects that would really achieve an optimal edge if only they could be heard. While the average sludge metal aficionado might argue that heavy riffs and noise don't need to be catchy, but just serve as an ambient visceral backdrop, a bit of distinction would be good. Dukatalon is in their element when they vary it up, adding nice touches like the bass intro of "Electric Site" that culminates into raw distortion. Other than that, it is hard to sustain a listening audience when a track plods on for over five minutes.

Half the songs face this predicament, being undistinguishable from the others. "Peis" and "ZX" are examples of this, delivering formulaic sludge metal punctuated by a few prerequisite solos thrown in. The resulting tracks go absolutely nowhere and result in no real songs. "Mekonenet" starts off with nice trebled jam riffs, but ends up in a quagmire that never really gets off the ground. Then out of nowhere comes the title track, a nice acoustic number that would have been less out of place had it been an intro to a song. Standing alone, it seems disjointed.

Dukatalon has some unique features and are plenty heavy when it comes to noise jam. The problem with this release is the lack of direction to the material, along with the slipshod production that oftentimes makes the vocals a non entity.

Highs: Heavy, with a distinct sound

Lows: Poor production and a need for more musical direction

Bottom line: Will appeal to some fans of sludge metal.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)