Desert Near The End – Theater Of War (Review)

Author: Craig Matthews

Power Metal, I love me some Power metal. Today’s offering, hails from Athens, DESERT NEAR THE END were formed back in 2009 by two school friends, bassist/songwriter Akis Prasinikas and vocalist Alexandros Papandreou. ‘Theater Of War’ is the bands third album and the last part of their long running concept of a man searching for the sun.

Looking at the cover art I’m expecting good things, it shows a solitary hooded figure walking away from a burning city and into the sea. It’s dark and brooding and I think it sets the tone for the album well. Though the more I look at it, the more it looks like a Disturbed album cover. While not necessarily a bad thing, it gives you a good idea what the music is about. It could cause some confusion to the less aware.

Now let’s get into what we are all here for, and I have to say. My first impression could be summed up by simply saying “holy shit!” these guys are good in that “let’s get concussed in a pit” kind of way. The album opens with some Thrashy guitar work and a brutal drum beat, mix in Alexandros’s operatic and at some points growling vocals and you end up with a great sound, which I’m pleased to say forms the backbone for the album. This Thrashy goodness carries on for the first half of the album. It’s a great showcase of what these guys can do.

The second half starts with a pace change in the shape of ‘A Martyr’s Birth’. This song features a slower spoken word intro and a shift to something more ‘power metal’, there’s even a nice guitar solo in the back there for you guitar nuts. Sadly this is where things start going wrong; this isn’t a big gripe by any means. But I’m starting to notice Alexandros’s voice start to struggle. I can hear him falter during some of the more demanding sections. It’s not a huge problem, but it’s the kind of thing that once you hear it. You can’t un-hear it. Now we get to the last part of the album, things are changing again. The album sounds darker, you can hear the concept is coming to an end now. It’s a nice slow, sombre sound and I feel it rounds the epic concept they have told off well.

All in all, Theater of war is a bloody good album. These guys play well together and sound slick, you can hear all the work they have put into this epic concept. This is definitely a band to follow and an album that belongs in your album collection. My only complaint with the whole album is Alexandros’s voice, it sounds great when he’s on form. His growls and almost operatic clean sections worked well with the sound of the rest of the band. But sadly once or twice you can hear it strain. Other than that I loved it. And as soon as I can I’m going out and buying it, you all should too.

A well-deserved 4/5

Tracklist
1. Ashes Descent
2. Faces In The Dark
3. Point Of No Return
4. Under Blackened Skies
5. A Martyr’s Birth
6. Season Of The Sun
7. Theater Of War
8. At The Shores

Band
Alexandros Papandreou – Vocals
Akis Prasinikas – bass
Thanos K – guitars
Lithras – drums (session).

 

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