THE DEMO CORNER
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5. White Gold
Total playing time: 41:44
Release Date: January 6, 2012
Label: Orcynia Records
Lethian Dreams - Season of Raven Words
January 25, 2012
Since the breakthrough of Alcest, the country of France has been associated with the shoegaze black metal scene. Its recent track record hasn’t quite sparked the number of bands playing in a similar style in the same manner that other trend-of-the-week subgenres have, but there are certainly a few bands hoping to capitalize on the that success. Lethian Dreams has been around for a while, and while they don’t have the track record Alcest has, they certainly have the potential for great things, as their latest album Season of Raven Words indicates.
The first thing to know about Lethian Dreams is that they are a duo consisting of Mathieu Sachs on guitar and Carline Van Roos handling just about everything else in the band, including vocals. What makes Season of Raven Words different from all of their previous works is that the vocal compositions are exclusively clean, meaning Van Roos’ voice is the only one the listener will hear. Upon listening to the first track “Dawn,” it becomes evident that Lethian Dreams’ style of atmospheric doom metal takes some of its cues from their fellow countrymen in Alcest. Where Lethian Dreams distinguishes itself is in the vocals, which are not only female, but also full of despair. The vocals aren’t superior, but for what Lethian Dreams is trying to accomplish, it more than does its job, painting a bleak picture for the listener. The music has a dreamlike quality to it (no pun intended), and can keep the listener’s attention for the duration of the album, as evidenced by songs such as “White Gold” and “Dawn.” The guitars act more as a compliment to the vocals for the most part, which is fine on Season of Raven Words, but when given a chance to provide atmosphere, it takes the opportunity and runs with it, as evidenced on songs such as “Wandering.” Even on the piano dominated “See,” Lethian Dreams’ ability to create atmosphere shines through. For all of the positive things about Season of Raven Words, the one thing that the album will likely suffer from is the inevitable comparison to anything Alcest has done, which even if it is true, Lethian Dreams has the potential to meet those comparisons/expectations.
Lethian Dreams plays atmospheric doom metal in a way that should get them more recognition than they actually get. However, they also have to deal with the rather large shadow cast by fellow French bands such as Alcest and Les Discrets. While Lethian Dreams doesn’t have the name recognition that Alcest has, but Season of Raven Words is worth checking out. France has been on a roll lately with great bands, and now they can boast three, as Lethian Dreams has made their way into the conversation.