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Danava 

Danava (Kemado)

Wednesday, Oct 25 2006
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While purists continue splitting hairs over "true" heavy-metal style, Danava combs the genre into a weave of fantastic art-rock wizardry that leaves the stick-straight by the wayside. For its full-length debut, Kemado Records' dark horse moves between kohl-cloaked glam and by-the-misty-bog Zeppelin hallucination fantasies; gargantuan stoner rhythms and high caterwauls abound. When your shortest song clocks in at the seven-minute mark, though, there's plenty of space for Hawkwind, Ozzy, and Alice Cooper to flash back, and the Portland act keeps an open relationship with its influences.

Plenty of mainstream heavies hearken back to when the black light was the bedroom bulb of choice, but Danava is no cloying trend-chaser. Instead of skating on stadium-ready simplicity, every track is texturized for maximum dramatic impact. Frontman Dusty Sparkles narrates from a distant fuzz-toned plane while guitar plumage billows around him and counteracting elements keep the moods swinging — feedback morphs into Herculean wind tunnels, and piano melodies become melancholy codas. As masters of the balancing act, these Northwestern magic men marry progressive aesthetics to deep metal grooves, ending up with a niche even the sticklers can bang their heads to with appreciation. — Jennifer Maerz

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Jennifer Maerz

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