WHITE STONES — Dancing into Oblivion (review)

WHITE STONES — Dancing into Oblivion album cover Album · 2021 · Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Dancing into Oblivion" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Spanish, Barcelona based progressive death metal act White Stones. The album was released through Nuclear Blast in August 2021. It´s the successor to Kuarahy from 2020 and features the same core trio lineup of Martín Méndez (bass, guitars), Jordi Farré (drums), and Eloi Boucherie (vocals). João Sassetti (Nuckin' Futs), who has done live work with White Stones since 2019, guests on the album playing lead guitars (and might I add some really impressive lead work). Méndez is known as the long-standing bassist in Opeth (only Mikael Åkerfeldt has been with the band longer than Méndez), and his involvement in White Stones of course sprinkles a bit of stardust over the project, but White Stones is an act who can hold their own.

While it´s not wrong to label the material on "Dancing into Oblivion" progressive death metal, it´s actually predominantly because of the growling vocals, that such a label applies. The riffs can be heavy and brutal too and the drumming ditto, but the instrumental part of the music mostly takes its cues from other less brutal sources. I´m mainly reminded of 70s progressive rock, hard rock/heavy rock, and at times even jazz/fusion from that era, but put into a dark and heavy contemporary template. White Stones do a great job balancing the death metal brutality with mellow atmospheric moments (almost darkly psychadelic at times) and loads and loads of focus on rhythms, both in the way the riffs are constructed and played and in the way the drum patterns are composed and the drums are played. There´s such a great organic groove present throughout the album and it´s one of the cornerstones of the band´s music. The bass is placed high in the soundscape and the guitar isn´t distorted like you would usually expect on a death metal album. It´s placed lower in the mix and features a more organic tone, which again reminds me of 70s guitar sound productions.

It´s not music which is hard to follow although it´s certainly progressive, so the tracks don´t feature a million riffs, themes, and songwriting ideas (although this is hardly simple vers/chorus structured music). There are plenty of adventurous surprises along the way, but they are all incorporated seamlessly into the songs and the tracks are generally very well composed and quite accessible. The longest track on the album is "Iron Titans" which opens with a long atmospheric instrumental section. Only after 3 minutes does the death metal elements kick in and the song becomes heavier, then comes a fusion section, and the song ends on a more epic note with some effect distorted non-growling vocals. It´s just an example of the musical journey the listener is treated to on some of the tracks. It´s beyond me that Opeth has such a skilled and clever songwriter like Méndez in their ranks but haven´t ever included anything written by him in their music (as far as I´ve been able to research).

"Dancing into Oblivion" features a dark, powerful, and organic sound production, which suits the music perfectly and upon conclusion it´s a high quality sophomore album relase by White Stones, making it abundantly clear that they aren´t just a one album project. Let´s see what happens when Méndez becomes busy with Opeth again post the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, but I hope he´ll make time to record more White Stones albums in the future. There´s so much qualiy here, that it would be a crime to let it go to waste...I want more!!! A 4 - 4.5 star (85%) rating is deserved.
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Tupan wrote:
51 days ago
Good review man, very true to the material!
UMUR wrote:
53 days ago
:-)
Nightfly wrote:
54 days ago
Great review. Your enthusiasm nearly changed my mind ;)

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