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(54:57, Progrock Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Cosmic Chaos 5:10 2. Industrial Evilution 9:51 3. Uncharted Waters 8:19 4. Pre-Spective 8:12 5. Transparent Reality 2:37 6. Illusion 3:34 7. Counterparts 4:47 8. The Battle Within 3:48 9. A Different Perspective 8:39 LINEUP: Marius Nilsen guitars; keyboards Tom-Vidar Salangli vocals Frank Nordeng R?e drums Kristan Berg keyboards Tommy Granli bass With: Live Foyn Friis vocals ?yvind Larsen guitars Ketil Ronold keyboards Stig Pettersen percussion
Prolusion. The Norwegian band DIMENSION ACT was formed back in 2008 by multi-instrumentalist Morten Nilsen and vocalist Tom Vidar Salangli, who form the nucleus of this now five-man strong ensemble. "Manifestation of Progress" is their debut album, and was released by Progrock Records in the spring of 2012.
Analysis. Progressive metal continues being a variety of progressive music that many find an interest in as listeners and performers both. While a majority of new bands still seem to take many of their cues from monsters like Dream Theater and Symphony X, an increasing number of artists appearing orient themselves towards another popular project, namely Ayreon. And to my ears my fellow Norwegians in Dimension Act can to some extent be described as belonging to this category of bands. Musically we're dealing with fairly pompous progressive metal on this disc. There's a general atmosphere of grandiosity that is maintained throughout this production. Massive arrangements and dramatic thematic constructions is the name of the game here, with a number of recurring themes and motifs utilized to maintain a sense of identity. There's a certain richly textured, circulating keyboard motif that will be remembered for a long time after encountering this CD, to put it that way. There's actually a few of them around, more often than not supported and contrasted quite nicely by massive, dark-toned guitar riffs, drawn out and slowly paced at that. To add a touch of variation, dampened inserts and passages with more of a ballad oriented nature appear on regular occasions, and in one relatively surprising case we're also given a run through a dampened sequence that appears to have slightly more of a jazz rock orientation. But the main and most common variation comes in the shape of parts with more of a power metal feel to them, however: steady and simple beats in galloping harmony with guitar riffs, with dampened keyboards hovering on top, less grandiose but with a nice and effective dramatic touch. Music of this kind does need a powerful lead vocalist, and Salangli is just that. With a subtly hoarse delivery his voice may not be to everybody's taste, but it does suit the music quite nicely to my ears. Especially when combined with the lighter toned voice of guest vocalist Friis. Well made and executed male and female vocals constructions generally tend to be a positive asset, and on this CD they are amongst the most intriguing ones for me, this on a production that by and large didn't really inspire me admittedly. It's a well made and well assembled disc, and the compositions are generally well thought out too. But just a tad too predictable to suit my tastes, a bit too repetitive and not quite on par with my own need for nuances of a subtler nature, and not quite there in terms of creating goose-bumps-inducing themes and motifs either. Its more of a bread and butter production as I experience it, a nice treat for those with a taste for material of this particular nature but not a CD that will attract many listeners beyond that niche.
Conclusion. If you like your progressive metal to be dramatic, grandiose and pompous in nature, Dimension Act is a band you probably should check out. Massive arrangements with keyboards and guitars contrasting and complementing each other in richly layered arrangements are the deal here, with some atmospheric inserts and quite a few pacier ones closer to power metal in expression, with a powerful lead vocalist to cater for the lyrical department in a suitable manner. A well made production that probably will find favor amongst quite a few Ayreon fans.
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