Wednesday, August 10

Dama - Eirwen (2011)



This is the debut album from an Italian outfit that consists of two CDs, one in English and one in the band’s native tongue. Though the CD package together is called Eirwen, the English CD is entitled “Imaginary” and the Italian is entitled “Immaginario”, both referring to Eirwen, a fantasy world inhabited solely by Dama’s vocalist, lyricist, and composer Barbara Schera Vanoli.

Upon listening to this CD for the first time, I was instantly captivated by Barbara’s golden vocals and the beautiful imagery contained in her lyrics. But I can just hear the metal purists jumping on this like mold on a fine Italian cheese, because this isn’t typical metal. While the songs are gorgeously composed and executed, the metal elements in the music take a back seat to the vocals, lyrics, and emotion. This isn’t metal with a lot of screaming guitars and don’t expect any wild solos; this is subtle metal, to be savoured like a piece of exquisite chocolate after having a crappy day at the office. The riffing, bass, and drums are a backdrop serving to accentuate the vocal melodies, not compete with them. Mixed in with this are rich keys and symphonic elements.

The English CD, “Imaginary” contains seven tracks, one of which is an excellent cover of Madonna’s 1980s hit, “Live to Tell.” This is one of the best tracks on the album, in my opinion; it takes a older, slow song that was initially powerful and refreshed it with a power metal spin. I almost like it better than the original, and I quite like the original to begin with.

The other highlight on the English side is the power ballad “Rainy Roads,” a haunting song I cannot get out of my mind. Not only is it gorgeous, it has some of the loveliest lyrics I’ve heard in a long time. The chorus is a particular favourite of mine, with some touching imagery:

As I walk I breathe you in
Through rainy roads
An invisible line
I follow
In darkness
Your sweet perfume
Set myself free

The Italian CD contains eight tracks, some of which are Italian versions of songs on the English CD. “Rainy Roads” is “Ombre” and “Breaking Dawn”, another excellent song, is “Alba.” I enjoy hearing singers sing in their native tongue; it gives another dimension to the song and often the songs sound better, probably because there is another emotional level accessed in the native language. I think Barbara sings both the English and Italian versions with equal emotion, but the Italian versions, to my ear anyway, sound a little more special - and I do not speak the language!

This is not a fast album; the songs are at most mid-tempo but primarily ballady. I don’t mind this because I’m a ballady kinda of girl. I balk a little bit at Dama being labeled as Gothic metal; they don’t seem dark enough to me to warrant that. But I did read somewhere that they self-apply that label, and who am I to disagree? Barbara states on the band’s site that the name “Dama” comes from Barbara’s love for Gothic cathedrals, and Notre Dame in France in particular, and that the band takes influences from a Northern European metal, Gothic metal, rock and pop, and symphonic music. And you can hear all of that in here. I think Dama, with Barbara at the helm, as great things in store for them.

- - -
CanuckFan's rating: 4.5/5


No comments: