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Dystera - Journey into the shades 3.5/5

Reviewed: 6-26-09


1. The tome (intro)
2. Voice of the shadows
3. Task of the sages
4. Judgement of the wise
5. Traveling the land
6. Plight of the knights
7. Tunes of holy war
8. Hopeless
9. A traveler's destination

Dystera is a new band from Switzerland and 'Journey into the shades' is their full-length debut. The band is female fronted, by Melanie Schweizer, who has what I'll call a "regular" voice, as opposed to a highly operatic one. While it's surely no surprise that I'm reviewing yet another female fronted CD, I can tell you that Dystera does offer up something a bit different.

What we get with this CD is a style that sits between symphonic power metal and folk power metal, and it never crosses over fully into just one of these styles. Basically, it's lightly symphonic, and somewhat folky. For comparisons, think of a band that's caught in the middle of symphonic power metal bands like Wildpath, Auspex, Minstrelix, Arya, Kerion, early Nightwish, Fading Starlight, early Dark Moor and Forgotten Tales, and folk power metal bands like Dalriada, Kalevala, Mena Brinno, Asynja, Midnattsol and especially Almora.

Power metal fans can rest assured that as far as the amount of speed, this CD will easily satisfy. Dominik Geneto is a great guitarist too, providing consistent, upbeat and catchy rhythms, with enough guitar solos to highlight some of the songs. What makes the band different however, is that there is a flute present on every song (which is performed by Daniel Bosshard). In fact, this is what will determine whether or not you will enjoy this CD. For me, I like the flute most of the time, but there are instances where it feels like the flute is present just for the sake of being present, and it doesn't fit as well with some of the songs as it does with the better songs.

Here's the catch. Since the release of this CD, 4 of the 6 members have left the band (including Daniel), leaving only Melanie (vocalist) and Dominik (guitarist). So even though I can give you an idea of what to expect with this CD, I can't tell you what to expect with the band's future, as who knows, maybe they won't grab another flute player to replace Daniel. I really must emphasize, the flute is very much a part of this debut and it's definitely what will make or break this CD for metal fans. Anyway, if it sounds interesting, check it out, while the band seeks a new line-up.




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