Dungeon – The Final Chapter

May 31, 2013 in Artist Rewind, Reviews by blackwindmetal

Dungeon - The Final Chapter

The Final Chapter
Reviewed by Daniel Millard

So, after 2005 came and went, and with it the construct that was Dungeon, Lord Tim and drummer Tim Yatras went on to form Lord. However, almost a year prior to releasing the first proper Lord album in Ascendence, they elected to posthumously release one final studio album under the Dungeon banner with their new bandmates. To date, I’m not quite clear whether these songs had already been composed prior to the breakup, or if they were all created afterwards. BUT, that’s not really the point here.

The Final Chapter is a fittingly named staging album for Lord endeavors. It has the clear hallmarks of a Dungeon album, but the sound has begun to mellow and melodicize a bit, and become more accessible for listeners of, say, Euro-metal. “Better Man” is a perfect example, with its defiant “turn the other cheek” chorus and upbeat lyricism, as well as the compact and touching “Don’t Leave Me”. It is also here, as the band transitions from one incarnation to the next, that the song selection begins to diversify.

While nothing on this album quite approaches the label of “filler material”, there are a few songs that I’m less fond of – specifically the too-long power ballad “Life Is a Lie” (though it does eventually pan out nicely) and Lord Tim’s battle-historian track in “Gallipoli”, which feels a bit like an afterthought. All is not lost though, as LT and company continue burning throughout every other song on the album.

The sheer potency of opener “Pariah”, fronted by Lord Tim’s fantastic screams, exemplifies why Dungeon, even postmortem, is absolutely essential power metal, no matter where you’re from. Guitars are superb throughout, whether delivering mounting tension, soft backdrops, or explosive riffing, and Lord Tim himself puts on his finest performance with Dungeon.  I would state without reservation that I find this to be the best release of the band’s, despite occurring well after the theoretical dissolution.

Requiring special mention is the sprawling title track, a monster 10+ minute work that may well be the single most impressive piece of music recorded under the Dungeon name. Classic guitar, synths, and percussive backdrops suddenly drop into madness as a burst of distortion and a tumultuous bassline punctuate the proceedings. It’s all uphill from here (“Climbing up the mountain and reaching for the sky!”), as the song winds through several distinct sections and features a slathering of meaty riffs and terrific solos, all culminating in a dramatic operatic section quite befitting the gravity of such an ambitious song.

Weak spots are few, and it’s a high-end performance all over on The Final Chapter. The quality of songwriting is better than ever overall, and the album offers a powerful, professional, and heartfelt sendoff to a project that ran for 16 years. Excellent.

4.25 // 5