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Review: Dantesco - De la Mano de la Muerte
De la Mano de la Muerte

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Year released: 2005
Duration: 63:39
Tracks: 11
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4.25/5

Review online: January 10, 2009
Reviewed by: Hermer Arroyo
Readers Rating
De la Mano de la Muerte

Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (10 Votes)

The first time that I listened to a Heavy Metal record I had a feeling of belonging to a culture. A special something that said: "This is for you; don't waste your life with anything else". When people embrace this form of art, it somehow bonds us and makes us stronger, and metalheads have been doing this since Black Sabbath. From that point on, there have been a wide range of bands and styles that enthrall us all with their music. This music is listened practically in every corner of the world, therefore we could listen to bands from around the planet and that's where this band comes in. From my home country comes the debut of Puerto Rico' finest metal band De la Mano de la Muerte.

Describing their sound is difficult, because they are so different from so many other bands. But one thing that you can say about them is that they are epic. They draw influences from various metal bands like Manilla Road, Mercyful Fate, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Root. And they are able to show that epicness on their songs, which are very good for a debut.

Beginning with a beautiful flawless acoustic guitar intro called "Tiempo de Calma" this band oozes confidence in getting the job done. Next comes the riff from "La Tempestad", this is the longest song on the record and also one of the best. From that point on, De la Mano de la Muerte, shows a lot of variety, incorporating different tempos and acoustic guitars into their sound. They continue onto this path until the last note of "Pavor Nocturnus", closing the album in grand fashion.

Musically speaking this band has nothing to envy to anyone, no doubt about it. They are experts at what they do and do it magnificently. Starting with vocals by Erico La Bestia, this singer delivers impressive wails (he sounds much better live!!!). His midrange voice is not too shabby, being extremely haunting, having an evil overtone and always sending a shiver down my spine. Erico's voice is perfect for what they are trying to accomplish as a band. Also he writes the lyrics for this album, and what fine lyrics they are, dealing with subjects like horror, religious freedom and despair typical of a Doom Metal band. Having an understanding of the Spanish language gives you a better perspective of what he is trying to express.

The rest of the band is also flawless. Starting with their duo of guitarists (Daniel Ortiz and Joel Carrasquillo), they throw epic riffs and arrangements left and right. Also excellent guitar solos like in "Morir de Pie" will make your jaw drop. As for the rhythm section, the bass provided by Ramón de Jesús is impressive (he also does the classical guitar), you can listen to it in all the songs and it doesn't take a back seat, which is nice to hear. The drums are carefully constructed by Diablo; they are superb, keeping the song together. These players complement the band perfectly achieving a grand scale sound without any orchestras, and that is a damn difficult thing to do.

Production-wise, this is good enough for the type of metal they play, not too raw and not too polished either. You can hear every instrument clearly. In other words, it gets the job done. Kudos to the band for producing and distributing the album themselves.

But not everything in this album is perfect - there is room for improvement. For one the riffs are hard to follow along unless you pay a lot of attention to them. Also the songs sound very much alike, you cannot distinguish between them very easily. However, I think that this is by design as they rarely follow an easy path. This is a release that requires a lot of time to fully appreciate it. With long songs (6 minute average) you'll need patience to digest it, but it's worth it. This is not re-inventing the genre by any stretch but it is done with such quality that you won't care.

This band and album are a major reason why I feel proud to be a Puerto Rican. Now the whole planet will know that we have a lot more to offer than Ricky Martin and the utter piece of shit known as reggaeton. Hopefully this will mark a new era in metal in my nation, sparking a new movement that can produce more metal to the world. This is a band that is on the verge of exploding to a massive audience and as they continue to develop their style, I think that they will make better albums.

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