Danava - UnonoU CD

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  1. Unonou
  2. Where Beauty & Terror Dance
  3. The Emerald Snow of Sleep
  4. A High or a Low
  5. Spinning Temple Shifting
  6. Down From a Cloud, Up From the Ground
  7. One Mind Gone Separate Ways

Release Date: 2008

Label: Kemado Records

Origin: USA

Though Danava is fairly fresh meat, they sound like they've been around for decades. They stretch their sound from the late sixties to the distant future, picking up pieces from the many periods of time they visit along the way. Even though they have obvious progressive elements in their music, as well as swinging by tons of other genres, they couldn't care less about these tags and categorizations. The best way to make music, is doing it for yourself, not for everyone else. Then, those who like it, will tag along for the ride. The perfect recipe, and it seems to be working for them. The single 'Where Beauty & Terror Dance' has certainly earned them much respect and admiration, and the rest of the album isn't much different.

Well actually, 'different' seems to be the keyword. There are no standards, no boundaries, no restrictions by genre, only four inventive, brilliant minds doing their own thing. That doesn't mean that this is some meltingpot of avant-garde noise though, there are obvious similarities to bands like King Crimson and Led Zeppelin's more "hazy days". But there are several things that seperates them from any other band you've ever heard, and justifies their resentment towards tags and genres.

Most notably, I haven't come across a more couragous use of synthesizers like this since Rush. Songs like 'The Emerald Snow of Sleep' uses layers and layers of synthesized arpeggios reaking of moldy old cheese, and it sounds extremly good! It makes you wonder why the synth got such a bad reputation in the first place. Dusty Sparkles and Daniel Kim have truly done an amazing job not only incorporating it into their music, but also making it the cornerstone and trademark of their sound.

But that's far from the only thing that makes this band so great. They've got an incredible creativity which shines through with all instruments, and the opener and title track is right in your face from the first second with a devastating drum fill and some very weird, yet interesting dual layered guitar riffs which leads into a killer rock anthem. These atypical riffs and melodies are found all through the album, and is the main reason why this is such an exuberant album and a refreshing listening experience. But it doesn't stop there.

Dusty Sparkles might not be a particularly good singer, and he doesn't always hit the notes right on the spot, but there's none the less something magical about his voice. His uninhibited enthusiasm and high-pitched, nasal cries fit perfectly with the chaotic and unconstrained sound of the rest of the band.

But let's not forget Dell Blackwell and Buck Rothy on bass and drums, respectively, who are equally important to the whole experience. While most rock outfits use their bass and drums simply as a metronome, Blackwell and Rothy play a vital part in the whole Danava sound. Rothy, with his thunderous grooves and inventive, constantly shifting patterns, and Blackwell accompanying him with a very prominent sound and some strange, but brilliant interludes and intermissions. Once again breaking with the stereotypes!

One thing with this album that has me wondering, is the closer; the nearly 14 minute-epic 'One Mind Gone Seperate Ways'. I don't know if it was meant to be a creative cover song or a tribute, but parts of it are almost identical to Led Zeppelin's masterpiece 'Achilles' Last Stand'. It doesn't last long though, before they break into an intense jam with all four instruments duelling each other out, building up to an explosive end of one of the greatest albums of the decade. This album has made me realize that I've been way too lenient with some of my other reviews, as this greatly outshines many albums that I've given an equally high score. - skinticket (Metal-Archives.com December 11, 2009)