Daal -
Decalogue Of Darkness

(CD 2018, 70.51, Agla Records CD10)

The tracks:
  1- Chapter I(6:20)
  2- Chapter II(16:24)
  3- Chapter III(4:34)
  4- Chapter IV(6:06)
  5- Chapter V(4:48)
  6- Chapter VI(5:04)
  7- Chapter VII(4:23)
  8- Chapter VIII(8:34)
  9- Chapter IX(4:18)
10- Chapter X(10:20)

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I took a look at DAAL's excellent website, and watched a series of music videos with tracks from the Decalogue Of Darkness album. Soon legendary medieval Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch came to my mind: a dark, horrifying and macabre world, full of death, weird creatures, devils and religious symbols. These often dark and ominous video images match with the music of DAAL on this album: lots of melancholic atmospheres that frequently alternate between dreamy, dynamic accelerations and bombastic eruptions, embellished with omnipresent Mellotron violins. These musical contrasts generate a lot of tension and turns listening to this DAAL album into a very compelling experience. During my listening session often the early work of Swedish prog band Anekdoten come to my mind. This seemed no coincidence, I asked drummer Davide Guidoni about that, he answered that keyboard player Alfio Costa loves Swedish band Morte Macabre ... featuring two Anekdoten members!

And I am delighted with this second 2018 DAAL album, also due to the outstanding and prolific ex-The Watch guitar player Ettore Salati (also great work in The RedZen) his contributions as a guest musician, again, after two previous appearances in 2011 and 2014. He easily switches from sensitive to aggressive, and succeeds in giving the music an extra dimension with his varied and moving guitar sound.

Although DAAL plays on a very good level during the ten tracks, I would like to mention my personal highlights.

Beautiful twanging guitars and Mellotron violin, howling electric guitar runs in the dynamic, ominous and compelling Chapter I.

Warm interplay between tender piano and a glorious Mellotron violin and venomous Fripperish guitar play in a heavy climate in Chapter II.

A slow rhythm with the focus on a mind blowing 'gentle chainsaw guitar sound' in the vein of Robert Fripp in Chapter IV.

In Chapter XIII a splendid build-up, from dreamy with piano and Mellotron flute and violin to a bombastic eruption with Mellotron violins (with echoes from Museo Rosenbach), powerful drum beats and heavy wah -wah drenched guitar riffs (goose bumps!), in the end subtle harpsichord and twanging guitar, what an awesome composition!

But my favourite is the final Chapter X, a cascade of flowing shifting moods: from the tender piano intro and slow rhythm with howling guitar (evoking Andy Latimer his 'bluesy emotion') to a break with again that Fripperish 'gentle chainsaw guitar sound' and an accelerations with a propulsive mid-tempo, a dynamic rhythm-section and a lush Mellotron sound, concluded with short Mellotron choir drops, wow!

According to the band this is their best effort, I fully agree but keep in mind that all other DAAL albums are way more experimental and atmospheric oriented, not in the vein of this exciting, symphonic rock oriented CD, highly recommended!

**** Erik Neuteboom (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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