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Spinefarm (2014)
Rating: 8/10

Renatus is the fourth studio album from Swedish metal band Dynazty, who have the sort of moniker better suited to some cheesy 80s hair metal / glam band. But look beyond the name and we are greeted by a powerhouse of a metal band who dabble in clinical, melodic and occasionally symphonic heavy metal.

It’s only been two years since the band’s last effort, the impressive Sultans Of Sin, but with Renatus the band feel more like a solid entity; tighter and harder than ever, Dynazty are propelled by the fantastic vocals of Nils Molin, which marry high-pitched classic metal strains with darker-edged, lower tones to create deeper atmospherics.

The album, Dynazty’s first with new bass player Jonathan Olsson, kicks off with the exemplary ‘Cross The Line’, which features some interesting symphonic injections. But above all this is still solid, mystical metal that drives at a steady pace and boasts excellent, almost thrashy riffs. However, the track comes into its own in the second half where the vocals take on a darker tone, but either way it’s a perfect way to start an album of this ilk.

I’m not usually a fan of modern metal that combines symphonic elements and seems to rely on contemporary design and dynamics, but I’m immediately drawn into this powerful platter which is rightly based around ascending melodies and clinical arrangements. Thankfully though, like all good bands, Dynazty don’t forget the main ingredient to make this record so potent – the weight.

‘Starlight’ is excellent power metal featuring rollicking drums from George Egg and heavy riffs which accompany those soaring vocals. It’s intriguing how these guys have matured; beginning life with sleazier elements and yet now existing as some metallic beast of gothic structures and progressive meandering based around double-bass segments and sprawling landscapes of freshness.

‘Dawn Of Your Creation’ is a dark, rumbling beast of a tune which one imagines being belted out at some European festival. Molin is literally on fire here, giving Ronnie James Dio a run for his money, and the duelling twin guitar attack of Love Magnusson and Mikael Lavér provide not just extra entertainment but also give the band an additional padded layer to their sound. This is rich texturally, and there appears to be so much going on beneath the obvious vocal and percussive quality.

Slabs such as ‘The Northern End’, ‘Run Amok’ and the chugging ‘A Divine Comedy’ show the band’s ambition for fiery soundscapes. And while there is an abundance of bands ploughing similar furrows, Dynazty show they mean real business here as they join together rising melodies with mystical metal passages that harbour flickering flames and cast interesting shadows.

Renatus is not immediately inviting, but after a few spins the album reveals itself like an old scripture of divine secrets. Powerful metal doesn’t really get much better than this and I can only admire these guys for altering their sound, because now they are armed with even greater weapons in their quest for the throne of ice. This record is a grower, so give it a chance and become engulfed by its splendour.

Neil Arnold

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