Donpheebin - The Visit (1998) (9/10)
Genre: Thrash Metal / Progressive Metal
Playing time: 36:31
Band homepage: -
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After the balanced fourth album “สองฟากฝั่ง” or “Collision”, Thailand’s Thrash Metal pioneers DONPHEEBIN from Chiang Mei returned with a fifth album less than one year later. Popular bands of the genre should take this band as an example as the three young men show us that it’s still possible to release two high quality records within a very short time. The fifth release is entitled “สัญญาณเยือน” or “The Visit”. My Thai is not good enough to tell you what kind of visit we are talking about but it could be interpreted as visit of more atmospheric, fantastic and haunting territories. The band tried out a few new things without leaving their very own sound they had finally established on their third and fourth albums. It’s not only that this record’s song writing is gripping and more progressive than ever before. The sound and production of this release have also evolved and beat the first four albums in my opinion. This last aspect can be seen as a professional step forward for the band. The record still has the charming feeling as if it came from the mid-eighties and the drum sound could be more clear and dominant but especially the guitars and the overall atmosphere sound quite organic.
The opener is once again a very good indicator of what we might expect from the album. “มิอาจเพียงชลอ” or “May Only Delay” convinces with an absolute impressive guitar play. From Groove and Thrash Metal driven PANTERA riffs over discordant VOIVOD signature melodies up to melodic guitar solos in the key of the calmer tracks of METALLICA, the guitarist proves his immense talent in this strong opener. He leads us through dark atmosphere, dystopian sound shapes but also into more promising and harmonious territories. You almost feel as if you were listening to the soundtrack of constantly evolving horror movie. The drums, the bass and the vocals are of a good average quality in here but the guitar sounds are absolutely well crafted. They are incredible and really have to take my hat off to Sombut Kaewthit.
The good news is that the entire album is in the vein of the great opener. Already the second track “สัญญาณเตือน” or “Alarms” takes you off where the opener left you wanting more. The song shows off some amazing guitar melodies on one side and a few dystopian Thrash Metal parts that lead to a more harmonious closure somewhere between epic and slightly Folk driven Progressive Metal parts and a haunting horror atmosphere. Once again, the guitars are the shining parts in this track.
Another song that really stands out is the longest song and title track. Imagine the greatness of the first two tracks multiplied by two and add a stunning vocal performance to this. The track includes unusual high pitched vocals that add a different touch and eerie effect to the atmosphere. We also have a more melodic clean vocal approach that finally contrasts the usual harsher vocals that sound more accentuated in here as well. In this track, it’s not only the guitar player that shines but also the vocalist. It’s sad that the production of the rhythm section isn’t as great as the production of the vocals and the guitars but despite this little flaw, this song is a milestone in the band’s career.
It’s really hard to tell if I prefer this more atmospheric record, the very consistent previous fourth effort that was driven by epic but energizing Thrash Metal songs or the band’s first milestone that mixed great pure Thrash Metal anthems with completely stripped down and relaxed ethereal rock ballads. Each of these three albums should definitely get your attention. This record here is maybe the most progressive release of the band. If you adore Progressive Thrash Metal, this is probably the right DONPHEEBIN record for you. Don’t miss your chance to discover one of the year’s greatest records and get in touch with this Thai legend.
(Online September 10, 2013)
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