Desert Dragon – Before the Storm

In today’s musical climate where every band is trying to do something unique and stand out from everyone else, sometimes it’s kind of refreshing to hear more traditional styles of music. This is what Los Angeles based, Desert Dragon, has done. They’ve gone back to the basics here mixing several different classic metal styles together. Everything from power metal, progressive metal and new wave of British Heavy Metal elements. Think of a combination of Dream Theater, Genesis, Rainbow and even a bit of Whitesnake, then you get an idea of their sound.

From the get go I was impressed with the band’s  riffing skills. The introductory title track is a great showcase of their talent as it’s comprised of  beautifully melodic and polished guitar solos. As the album goes on you can hear the different musical influences come in. While ‘Save my World’ has more a more theatrical, power metal vibe to it with the big chorus and a fantasy theme, ‘My Shineshine,’ is the band’s take on a classic 80s power ballad fitted with the expected romantic melodies and cheesy lyrics about love. Vocalist, Joseph Michael, is incredibly dynamic and can range anywhere from a husky bluesy tone to an emotionally driven high pitched tone of voice. His voice changes as the patterns of music change. And as each song progresses the listener is provided with dense layers of music.

One thing that people won’t like about Desert Dragon is that they seem to rely so much on heavy metal cliches. Their lyrics particularly are incredibly uninspiring and sound like they’ve been borrowed from old 80s heavy metal records, particularly in tracks like ‘Loving You’ where the lyrics feel like they’re there there just for the sake of having lyrics. They’re all fantastic musicians who together have created some great tracks with killer grooves but in order for the band to truly succeed they need to break away from some of these cliches and find their own voice.

Desert Dragon are not a band that you’d expect a typical black metal fan to be listening too because Before the Storm is the sort of record that you’d put on one hot summer’s day while you’re driving down the highway. There’s nothing melancholy here. The music is bright and happy and the sort of thing you’d listen too if you needed a pick me up. Finally, what Desert Dragon do they do well, but the one thing they really need to do is work on refining their sound and become more creative with lyrics and themes. Overall though, a great first effort from the Californian five piece.

Track listing: 

  1. Desert Dragon
  2. Save my World
  3. Desert Horizons
  4. We the People
  5. Take it Easy Now
  6. Flying High
  7. Slow Groove
  8. My Sunshine
  9. Kicking Down
  10. Loving You
  11. Call an Angel

Length: 43:00

Record Label: Sliptrick Records





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