UK metallers Dendera have been making waves with their classic metal style since the release of their debut EP in 2011. With support slots alongside some of metals greats such as UFO, Saxon, Orange Goblin and Ill Nino to name a few they continue to make a name for themselves on the advent of their full debut album release, The Killing Floor.
Plaudits they may well be getting on the live circuit, but I’m afraid their debut album is a disappointing mix of Maiden and Helloween inspired riffs sprinkled with a dose of heavyness. Musically they are definitely very competent and there’s sparks of killer hook in some of the songs but sadly they are few and far between. There’s also one other major thing that bothers me most of all about Dendera and that’s Ashley Edison’s vocals or to be more exact his stylings.
It’s one thing to hold your idols up as an example to strive to or influence your writing, but throughout this album you feel that Edison is trying hard to sound like Bruce Dickinson instead of being his own man. Granted, his vocals may carry a more aggressive edge, but his melodies and wails are right out of the Dickinson school of vocals. You may well say that’s a good thing, and it would be if it wasn’t so close to Dickinson’s style.
I may be raining down here on Edison a bit but he’s not alone in my thoughts. Again I say, if you’re going to take influence from some of the biggest bands in metal then you better be prepared to put your own mark on it otherwise it sounds just like you’re ripping off said bands. There’s galloping riffs, there’s twin guitar harmonies, there’s soaring choruses but they’re all stuck with that little niggle in the back of your mind telling you they’ve been heard before. The title track itself starts off in promising style with an intro that has a real feel of Slayer to it before it descends into a reminder of The Duellists from Powerslave, Hatechild immediately made me think of Wrathchild but the song itself has more in common with the melodies of Infinite Dreams, while Bridges Will Burn heads into newer Maiden territory sounding like The Longest Day.
The whole album makes me want to cry out for letting their influences shine through in such a manner because these guys can definitely play and craft a song, that’s the frustrating thing about it. There’s moments of great chunking riffage in Senlac Hill and title track The Killing Floor for all its Maiden-esque feel that bring a smile to my face, while final track Till We Fall has a glorious heavy groove of a breakdown in it.
If Dendera are to move from support act to headliner status they need to stop wearing their heroes on their sleeves so much and find their own identity amongst the music. It can be heard in moments on this album, but there’s too much of a feeling of being here and hearing it before in another guise.
The Killing Floor is released through Metalbox Recordings on 6th May
1. For Vengeance
2. My Mercy
3. Senlac Hill
4. The Killing Floor
6. The Predator
7. Bridges Will Burn
8. Till We Fall
Ashley Edison – Vocals
Stephen Main – Guitar
Tony Fuller – Guitar
Bradley Edison – Bass
Andy Finch – Drums