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Galadriel - From Ashes to Dust

Galadriel -  CD Review
From Ashes to Dust
CD Info
Metal Age Productions
10 Tracks + 1 Bonus Track + 1 Video Track 45:31
Slovakia - English lyric's

Hailing from Slovakia, we have the Melodic Doom Metal band, Galadriel. Somewhat obscure, cause not too many people have heard of them, but this, is the fourth release by a band which has been with us since 1995. Just a short history, before I begin this review,( You can find a detailed history by clicking the URL at the bottom of this review). Founded in 1995 by present members, Dodo Datel (bass and vocals) Dr. Victor (drums) and one who is no longer in the band Voloda Zadrapa (guitars). And the line-up has changed very much so over the years, with Dodo and Dr. Victor being mainstays.

In 1996 along comes Sona "Witch" Kozakova (female vocalist and third permanent member) to round out what would become the rock on which Galadriel would stand, to this day. Their present discography stands at four albums, and it is a glorious one at that. Beginning in 1996 with the arrival of Sona, "Empire of Emptiness"******** becomes their debut album, which was not released until 1997, is as fine a debut as any other band that I can think of. In 1998 they released their sophomore effort, "Mirror of Ages"

******. 2000 sees the release of another gem, "Oblivion" *********(my personnel favorite), with the 2002 effort being the review at hand. Over the years though, the line-up has changed, but the style of great music has stayed the same and true to form, which in my opinion is Gothic Doom Metal. I liken their music style to that of bands like Tristania, Sins of Thy Beloved, Dying Passion, and Trail of Tears. Others may differ on this assessment, but I have all their albums, and this is what I hear.

Present day line-up goes this way-Dodo (bass and vocals) Sona "Witch" (lead female vocals) Dr. Victor (drums) Tomax Gabris (guitars) Lubomir J.S.K. Kozak (keyboards). Guitar and Keyboards have been the instruments that have notably changed over the years, and if you read their detailed history at the web-site, you will find this to be true. Beginning with the vocal portion of their music, Sona "Witch" Kozakova (and I don't know how she got that name, cause she neither sings or looks like one) has a very distinguished vocal delivery and is very upfront in the mix. She can be likened to any number of femme singers in the genre, none really sticks out. She is neither operatic nor too high pitched, just a normal femme voice, and a very good one at that. Dodo handles all the grunts, growls and occasional clean stuff. Yes, it is kind of the duet style beauty and beast.

What sets them apart from the others is the music. Very melodic doom metal, probably because of the ever-present keyboards. What also sets them apart from others like Tristania or Sins of thy Beloved, is the non use of string instruments such as the violin. This is straight ahead doom metal with heavy guitar and bass. On the 2002 effort "From Ashes to Dust" there is progression is their sound and production. Not to say that it was bad on previous releases, just that now, they have become an established unit and are probably becoming more well known in metal circles.

The new album also sees the band taking a more upbeat direction. Anyone of their albums to date can be a starting point for new fans, but I must caution on how hard their albums are to get a hold of. Probably because Slovakia is not your primary hotbed for metal music, but I see that changing in years to come. Is a matter of fact, since the breaking down of "The Wall", were finding that countries such as Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Russia are holding a new wealth of music and musicians who would have gone unnoticed, had it not occurred. I myself, am a big fan of these obscure metal bands from post communist era bands, and believe me, there are many. All I can say is "welcome to the fold, brilliant stuff". With a very high recommendation for any of their albums.