Dessiderium – Aria
Despite the fact that Dessiderium’s been around for about a decade and has released 3 previous studio albums to date, this project flew completely under the radar for me, and it just so happens to be exactly around the area of what I like to hear most, progressive, techy and extreme. But if there’s anything a band owning those adjectives can do to grab my attention, it’s signing to The Artisan Era, and in order to release the 4th studio album “Aria”, Dessiderium did just that.
As it turns out, this is a one-man project by Arkaik guitarist Alex Haddad, and with that in mind I would expect nothing but aggression and extreme technicality, but Dessiderium offers a more diverse and unexpected approach to extremity. I would probably place the sound that can be heard on “Aria” somewhere in between progressive technical death metal and melodic post-black metal, with composition style drawing much from the former while the atmosphere and emotional package seems to be more rooted in the latter.
The first thing to draw any prog-nerd’s attention is the affinity for ridiculous song length, with the shortest track and first released single ‘Moon Lust Delirium’, clocking in at just over 9 minutes and all other songs going beyond the 10-minute mark. As a result, this is a 5-track one-hour long album. And the best part is, the variety in composition and evolutionary nature of the tracks makes those lengths fully worthwhile. There is no irrelevant content for the entire duration of the album.
Dessiderium – Moon Lust Delirium ( Click here if the video does not play )
Based on the first single, hearing shrieky vocals, consistent use of blast beats and tremolo picking guitars, I expected this to reside mainly in black-metal territory, although with a modern sound and progressive tendencies. But after a stream of the full-length I was easily convinced that this project refuses genre boundaries and taps into many different faces of extreme metal, as well as some other influences. The 15-minute opener ‘White Morning in a World She Knows’ kicks off with a beautiful and ethereal clean guitar intro that takes its time adding flowery details of noodly intricate yet melodic playing. Then a gradual build-up occurs with clean vocals, groovy drums and mumbly bass seeping in, cramming more and more details before double kicks and extreme elements kick in. The actual driven guitar and screaming vocals are the last pieces to show up and complete the epic soundscape.
From there on, the album goes on a rampant yet emotional journey of cathartic progressive mayhem, maintained in fluid order. The riffs go anywhere from black-metal styled tremolo picking to extensive odd-timed patterns that make it hard to recognize any sort of repetition. I feel the effect and production places the riffage in a black metal sound while the composition itself sounds rather like what you’d expect to hear from the likes of Persefone. The bass doesn’t take the tech-death path of fluidity but rather resides in the low-end rumbling while the riffs do their work. However, it gets plenty of moments to shine when the driven guitars are silenced and the clean parts take over. There are repeated moments in the album where the riffs halt and the atmosphere clears out, leaving melodic aspects like clean vocals, guitars and orchestrations to shine, and it is also in these moments that the bass parts show their most melodic and intricate side. A highlight of this sort must certainly be the blast-beat heavy yet completely riff-stripped intro to the second track ‘Pale’. We also get lead guitars, not necessarily in actual solos but rather in majestic melodies that open up the soundscape for some truly impressive cinematic moments. The drum parts, I must say, are absolutely spectacular. The amount of dynamic groove, detailed strummery and clever, playful alternation between blasting and groove that happens in this album is so clever and expressive that it makes the drums sound like an animated character. The only downside to it is that, to my knowledge, they are programmed, which is surprising given that they actually sound quite raw and natural. I guess technology keeps advancing. Vocally, I’m much more impressed by the cleans than the scream. The clean vocals have a very emotional and tender delivery, sometimes growing more intense and cathartic while the screams get pretty monotonous, laying in a typical post black shriek, although with much better pronunciation and definition.
Dessiderium – Aria ( Click here if the video does not play )
And if we’re talking vocals, we can also have a look at the lyrics and concept. While I can’t say I’m entirely sure with the lyrical content in this one, it appears to be presenting a dreamlike romance between a first-person protagonist and a woman named Aria who may or may not be real. It starts off pretty, goes delusional pretty quick, deals with despair, confusion and desire as well as potentially fake bliss and terminates with an also probably not so real death of Aria. It may just be that the entire adventure happens in a dream space rather than reality. I assume this because there’s a surreal tone to the whole thing that especially shines when pizzicato-driven orchestral soundscapes emerge or layers of hypnotic clean vocals. It’s as impressive as it is potentially confusing, and personally I love it, especially given that this is happening in an album that’s otherwise loaded with death metal and black metal extremity. So if that sort of mix sounds like something that you might be intrigued by, be sure to check out “Aria”. I tell you, it’s quite a journey.
- White Morning in a World She Knows (15:13)
- Pale (10:59)
- Aria (13:41)
- Moon Lust Delirium (09:15)
- The Persecution Complex (11:26)