Wednesday, December 25, 2013

#2 of my Top 12 Albums of 2013: Momentum

DGM's Momentum

Release Date: March 26th, 2013
Label: Scarlet Records
Genre: Progressive Metal

     This year I really got into a lot of Progressive music, listening to a lot more old Queensryche, Storm Corrosion, Porcupine Tree and the other Progressive Band that reached this list, Spock's Beard.  Spock's Beard was quite good and really showed me everything that could still be done in Progressive Rock, but being a heavier type of music guy, I still tend to lean toward metal so getting into DGM was only logical, once I found the album that is.  In fact, I had found this album only this month when I had started researching bands that had put out albums this year. That's right, I didn't just include albums that I had heard about over the year, I actually went back through the year month by month to make sure there was not anything I had missed and though I had found some promising entries, DGM was one of the only ones that impressed me enough to make this list, and boy did this album strike a chord with me, pun intended.  Maybe it was the first song that included a very good featured singer or maybe it was the incomparable energy DGM put out that just hooked me.  Regardless, it is here, so let's dive right in.

     DGM is a very influential Italian symphonic metal band from Rome that has been around for almost 20 years now and has been releasing albums since 2007.  However, they probably should not go by the DGM name anymore, considering it does not really apply.  What I mean by this is the irony behind what DGM stands for, which is Diego Gianfranco Maurizio, the first names of the founding three members, all of whom have since left the band, the last being Diego who left in 2006.  So, logically, DGM has a bit of trouble retaining members, with eight albums they have only had consecutive albums with same lineups twice: Hidden Place (2003) and Misplaced (2004) had the same lineup as well as FrAme (2009) and this album, Momentum.  However, the lineup they have now has been solid for five years, a fourth of the bands' total career length, and I hope this lineup stays because this team seems very solid, not a single member is left in the dark and each member has their individual time to shine and show their obvious skill.  I cannot say anything about the quality of their other albums, again I had only found DGM this month, but I would assume FrAme would be just as good as this album and I have read that all of their albums have done well critically.

"Reason"

     "Reason" is the first song I heard on the album since when I heard about the album, I looked the band up on youtube and found the above music video.  Five minutes later, I was just sitting in my chair staring at the screen of my laptop in pure astonishment. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor and play the song again to make sure that the people playing the song weren't some demigods sent down by Apollo himself to gift us with this astonishing eargasm.  Starting with vocals, "Reason" features the singer of a band I already enjoy and have enjoyed for many years, Russell Allen of Symphony X, which only helps the song, his presence alone in the song help elevate up up on a pedestal of music, I have not heard a song with Allen in it that i do not like.  The actual singer of the band, Mark Basile does an astonishingly good job, greatly pairing with Allen to the point that they almost sound like brothers.  What shocks me more is that prior to joining DGM in 2008, making him the newest member of DGM, he had done almost nothing else, only playing with another band called Mind Key and not singing on any studio albums with them before switching to DGM.  The drumming is fast and dynamic, constantly changing with a very strong kick that reminds me of my favorite drummer, Dirk Verbeuren of Soilwork and Scarve.  The guitars are fast and constantly changing throughout the entire song, not strumming the same notes over and over again and the bassist has one of the toughest jobs, just watch him in the video and see what all he has to do, I rarely see bassists act so much like guitarists outside of bands like the legendary Rush.  The Keyboardist is also quite good, granting the song the "Progressive" quality and giving it more of a space or otherworldly type of feel rather than just a simple metal song.  Everything about this song is good, as well as the lyrics which I didn't talk about and are great for singing along to or listening to contemplatively or both.

"Universe"

     "Universe" is probably my favorite song on the entire album, if I had to choose one, with "Void" coming in close second.  Very symphonic feel to the song with lots of keys and orchestrational production so it makes me think of some of my favorite bands like Nightwish and Delain.  The guitar is probably the most infectious it ever is on the album here, creating super fun riffs through the entire song that makes you just whip out your own personal air guitar and "play along."  I tend to really like heavy songs with melodic vocals, hence my love of melodic death metal and power metal, and this song provides a very heavy sounding song with a very, VERY talented singer leading the way with some very clear vocals that does not sacrifice anything for that clarity.  The drummer is spot-on here with lots of drum rolls and overall impressive speed as well as the bassist who seem to have another rough time, like in Reason, I would really hate to have to do his part due to how touch it seems, despite how fun it is.  This song also gives the keyboardist a long solo that he uses to do battle with the guitarist, who follows up with a couple of solos, I am not sure who wins though, I would probably have to go with the keyboardist despite the victorious sound of the guitarist.  Overall this song is incredibly fun and engaging, I could listen to it on repeat for days without it getting old.  Other songs I would recommend are "Void" (which is not on youtube, otherwise it would be the next video on this review), "Trust," "Chaos," "Numb" and "Overload," even though all eleven tracks on the normal version of the album is good.

"Chaos"

     This is an album where every song i could listen to six times though just to listen to each instrument individually and then once again to hear every element all together, which I did.  I play this album when I do anything, it goes well with whatever I do and it makes everything I do that much more fun.  I do not have a single complaint about this album, it is absolutely perfect and stands as my favorite Progressive Metal album ever and also probably my favorite progressive rock album too, I don't know any other album that I listen to as frequent as i do with Momentum.  The only reason it is not in the first spot is because the album in that spot, and the band that made it, mixes all of my favorite genres into forty glorious minutes of nonstop joy.  There are hardly any words to describe it but I will attempt to do so in a couple days after tomorrow's Honorable Mentions of 2013 review of a couple of albums that just barely missed this cut and why they didn't completely make it.

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