Only 20 years of age, Clemente Reviriego of Bordeaux, France is astonishingly familiar with what it takes to play the solo creator of an Instrumental.Tech.Prog.Groove.Jazz project. “Dorthal’s” recent release “Arid Landscapes” marks Reviriego’s fourth collection of tracks but is the first full-length album. Mastered by Acle Kahney (Tesseract) “Dorthal” is a well-developed and weighty project, whose lucrative writing style allows the “complete band” feel. Many layers and original flitters cause suspension of belief that “Arid Landscapes” is the opus of a single being.
Primarily a bassist before picking up a 7-string guitar, Reviriego does not shy from his musical roots in “Dorthal.” All of “Dorthal’s” workings are rewardingly bass heavy making him arguably the grooviest amongst the growing grove of groovers, groovies and grooverettes. “Arid Landscapes” includes intricate math rhythms; high in both quantity and quality. The frame of time is melted by “Dorthal’s” toiling amongst progressing arrangements and patterns.
In some of "Arid Landscapes" layout the bass is the overpowering voice, but occasionally falls back into a more traditional bass role, allowing guitar to soar cleanly during leads, classical lines and ambiance. A musical feature that keeps out of sight until being introduced during "Outer-space Lost Shrine" is the saxophone, played by Cyril Prevost. This particular sax lick scurries through a calm but intricate flow of bass where the special strumming techniques remain beyond my grasp of understanding. A bass player myself, "Dorthal" is of maximum appeal in all around tone and creative variation of bass techniques. The drum tracks are not eclipsed by guitars but are slightly shadowed in comparison, which is quite appropriate in "Dorthal." Creative the drums are, especially for jazzy sections, the guitars are the undoubted highlight.
Not counting the cool alien voices, "Dorthal" remains primarily instrumental with exception to the track "Verdure" which is featured twice on "Arid Landscapes," once as an instrumental and once with guest vocalist Remy Pocquet. I love this idea because in both versions there is something new to discover. "Verdure" appears first with vocals and is a magnificent track. I must say I do not think I have ever heard vocals of this style used in djent-groove metal, but maybe I've been kept under a rock. Either way, "Dorthal" transitions from a half hour of instrumentals to the usage of voice rather virtuously. The lyrical version of "Verdure" battles with "Post Apocalypse First Signs Of Life" for my favorite song slot. The latter is a massive track that perfects heaviness, interluded by emotional saxophone. A very complete feeling encompasses these tracks despite a incomplete line-up.
"Dorthal" is for fans of Animals As Leaders, T.R.A.M., Tesseract, Textures and Vildhjarta. Yes. I mean that. And to raise that heart rate even higher is the fact that all of "Dorthal's" music is available for stream and "name your own price" HERE at bandcamp. This includes three E.P.s "Hypothetical Complexity," "eta-Earth," "Cell Regeneration" and the big boy "Arid Landscapes." Below is an old play through of "Illusion of Oasis" where Reviriego casually but fashionably flaunts his musicianship, hat and mustache. Mad props to Clemente! Go show him some love!
– Tyler Dermitt