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Review: Dethlehem - Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon
Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon

Label: Independent
Year released: 2020
Duration: 57:14
Tracks: 13
Genre: Death Metal

Rating: 3.25/5

Review online: August 24, 2020
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon

Rated 3.67/5 (73.33%) (3 Votes)

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania's Dethlehem, as you might guess from the name, is a death metal band that plays, as you might guess from the title and artwork of their fourth album, Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon, fantasy-themed metal. Their music is melodic death metal with some proggy bits here and there, tightly played and with a clear production. The vocals are mainly a decipherable harsh shout and the occasional clean singing, which makes the story fairly easy to follow with a bit of effort. It's stuff that you would expect more from an Italian power metal band, down to the Dungeons & Dragons touches (e.g. "Mind Flayer"). It is standard melodic death metal, nothing you haven't heard before, but Dethlehem do add something a bit different. There are two versions of Maelstrom of the Emerald Dragon, one with the music tracks only and the one I have, with several lengthy spoken word interludes in between said music tracks. On these, the band members assume their characters from the story running through the album and act out what is happening, with a lot of swearing and attempts at humor. I listened to this full version, or what the band calls "Story Mode," once and never wanted to hear it again. The interludes are painfully forced and are so long, they really disrupt the flow of what is not a bad album. Humor and metal are very difficult to mix and Dethlehem have failed at this quest.

If you like melodic death metal, Dethlehem is not doing anything groundbreaking but you won't hate it, unless you buy the "full" version and can't somehow skip the interludes. Better option: buy the music-only version and listen to the interludes on some streaming service if you really feel the need to hear them.

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