Hidden Gems: Dendera – Part One: Blood Red Sky (2017)

Genre: Thrash metal / traditional heavy metal

Release date: 5th June, 2017

Record label: Metalbox

For fans of: Iron Maiden, Kreator, Savage Messiah

Blood Red Sky

At the turn of the decade, one of the most popular hybrid genres in the metal sphere was classic NWOBHM-meets-thrash. Pioneered by the likes of Savage Messiah, Holy Grail, Spellcaster and Kaine, the mini-movement was one that prided itself on blending enormous, old-school melodies with the most modern and pummelling of riffs.

Hailing from the south coast of the UK, Portsmouth rockers Dendera are also a child of this alluring-yet-punishing dynamic. Since forming in the late 2000s, the harmonic quintet has released two full-length studio albums, the magnificent duo of The Killing Floor (2013) and Pillars of Creation (2015), and performed with some of the biggest names in rock and metal, including Sepultura, Saxon, Fozzy, Queensrÿche, Death Angel and Anvil.

Looking to add one more achievement to their already titanic resumé, the southerners are now releasing a collection of two simultaneously-recorded EP’s, the first of which is set to be June’s Part One: Blood Red Sky.

Despite consisting of only four full songs, Blood Red Sky somehow manages to be a release that expands upon and transcends Dendera’s classic metal influences, introducing not only elements of thrash, but also more than a handful of dashes of technical metal. This was a style that previous album Pillars of Creation touched upon, but never quite fully realised: in turn, Blood Red Sky is an EP that sees Dendera become truly original and scream aloud with their own distinct voice, while still being able to channel legends like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Not only is this the heaviest thing the band has put out to date, it is also the most raw and undeniably exciting.

The evolution marked by Blood Red Sky comes across best in the virtuoso riffs of David Stanton and Stephen Main and the EP’s masterful, mature compositions. In this regard, the band now feels unshackled, blending rhythmic chords with finger-destroying shredding with ease in songs that can clock in at up to ten minutes. Closer “When All Is Lost” is the epitome of this, bringing the heavy thunder in a lengthy trailblazer that flies by at an unusually quick rate.

Furthermore, lead vocalist Ashley Edison, fresh off of his addition to the ranks of power metal veterans Power Quest, drives the melodies of the EP to Rob Halford-esque heights thanks to his sheer range and mastery of both intense and sombre deliveries with equal ease.

Toss into the mix a talented rhythm section of bassist Bradley Edison and drummer Andy Finch, both of whom team up excellently to guide the technical impressiveness of this EP, and Blood Red Sky quickly becomes an expansive powerhouse that transcends its short running time and enters into the realm of technical thrash brilliance. If its sequel EP follows in its enormous footsteps, Blood Red Sky could soon be seen as the release that lifted Dendera to the realm of modern, melodic titans.

Part One: Blood Red Sky will be available via Metalbox Recordings on 5th June, 2017.