DWARROWDELF – Of Dying Lights

DWARROWDELF – Of Dying Lights

In the fiction of J.R.R. Tolkien, Dwarrowdelf, also known as Khazad-dûm or Moria, was an underground kingdom beneath the Misty Mountains. It was known for being the ancient realm of the Dwarves of Durin’s Folk and the greatest kingdom ever built by the Dwarves. Tom O’Dell may not be a dwarf or headed that way but he is an exceptionally tallented, skilled and prolific multi-instrumentalist and a vocalist active in groups such as Deavhronun (melodeath), Gimli, Son Of Gloín (death/grincore) as well as the sole member of Dwarrowdelf (epic black), founded in 2017. "Of Dying Lights" is his second album which is impressive given the short life of the project.

A careful reader of this review can easily detect thick sarcasm and parody spilling from my words but this is because I find all these philosophies and dress up based on fictional stories a little silly. What’s not silly at all is the music presented on this 7 track, over 51 minute affair. Not only is the production perfect for epic black metal, but the arrangments grip not the belly but the heart, with heart-rending, beautiful melodies. What I hear is that the first 4, so, a half, of the tracks are a little light on the ears and not so complicated, while the remaining 3 are magnifiscent, complex symphonies that balance Katatonia-ic melodicism and Jonas Renkse clean vocals with epic slow black metal a’la Dimmu Borgir’s "Spiritual Black Dimensions", with Shagrath-like rasps. It’s all very engaging and expertly composed.

What won’t let me give this more than 4.5 points is the overall sameness of the material, wherein I found myself asleep twice lulled by the "pretty" melodies and depressive tone. If this is black metal, it has too much of a shoegazing approach and not enough brutality or even roughness. This is peculiar given Tom’s other projects, but, perhaps, this is what he wants for Dwarrowdelf and there is no repentence. Nevertheless, I can’t help but feel that this material would benefit from some well placed extreme measures.

Dwarrowdelf is a beautiful testimony to Tom O’Dell’s talent, howbeit, a little more dark with the light could elevate it to highs reserved for Dwarrowdelf’s influences. On the good side, this is probably a great album for someone looking into plunging themselves into black metal, a sort of gradual cooling before the freezing cold. Give it a spin if you like Dimmu Borgir or the like but don’t actually expect another "Spiritual Black Dimensions".