U.K.’s Dendera was so impressive on the 2015’s “Pillars of Creation” that waiting for the encore has been excruciating. The upside of this powerful quintet is limitless, so you can only imagine the expectation levels when the first of two new EP’s were announced. With the hoopla surrounding vocalist Ashley Edison joining the power metal institution Power Quest, I was admittedly worried about the future of Dendera. However, the new EP “Part One: Blood Red Sky,” quelled that fear! The release is but a brief, but satisfying, taste of the power at work here.
On first blush, the band has certainly maintained the level of serrated pleasure found on “Pillars.” The riffs are modern, crisp and beefy and Edison’s vocal style continues to be among the most powerful and purely metal in the business. A small part of me wishes Ashley would belt out a top level scream, but it honestly wouldn’t fit in the style of metal Dendera has evolved into in recent releases, now more of a melodic power thrash act with a guitar tone worthy of a Killswitch Engage album. However, fear not power metal fans…Dendera is solidly power metal and only seek to add to the heaviness.
With the intro “The Awakening” out – what you have is four crushing tunes that give just a taste of what Dendera is capable of. With a “Part Two” of the EP on the way soon, the wait shouldn’t be that long for anyone left unsatisfied by quantity. “Final Warning” is like a shot across the bow, unleashing a bevy of heavy riffs from Stephen Main and David Stanton enshrouding Edison’s perfect delivery. “Blood Red Sky” follows that up with a bit more melody, but no less crushing. The riff of the release comes in “Age of Agony,” which starts with speed, briefly breaks down and then all hell breaks loose with the first verse – making it the top track on this EP.
The final track comes in the form of the near eleven minute opus “When All Is Lost.” Don't think for a second that the band lets up for a second. With the same overwhelming power that leaves you beaten on the first three full length songs, the finale pounds the listener bloody with riff after riff coupled with Edison's melodious thunder. The only deviation comes at 4:52 when the band breaks out in one of those classic 5 minute Maiden-esque "soft-slow build-climax-back to heavy" interludes.
"Part One: Blood Red Sky" is a potent, yet short, blast of a band continually on the rise. Adding modern elements to a solidly power metal sound, Dendera keeps it fresh and exciting. The band is bursting with talent, anchored by one of the most versatile voices out there - a true force of metal with an upside that is limitless.