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(52 min, Unicorn)
TRACK LIST: 1. Why 6:02 2. Open Letter 3:37 3. Corporate Ladder 5:16 4. Introspection 1:37 5. Train Wreck 5:48 6. Xeno's Paradox 16:51 7. Intrigue 6:06 8. Nothing's Changed 6:43 All tracks: by Dimension X. Produced by Dimension X. LINEUP: Kent Herman - guitars Jeff Konkol - keyboards David Hoover - vocals D R Burkowitz - bass & Stick Andy Jimenez - drums & percussion
Prolusion. DIMENSION X springs from the American outfit Dweller, which was formed by bassist D R Burkowitz and singer David Hoover in 1986. Over the course of the next fifteen years the group was actively rehearsing and touring. In particular, they opened shows for Mastermind and Par Lindh Project, amongst others. The band has undergone numerous lineup changes and thrice changed its name. The lineup stabilized in 2001, soon after which Dimension X presented their self-released debut EP, "Adventures in Time & Space". Here is the first full-length album by them, "So, This Is Earth".
Analysis. It can be heard with the naked ear :-) that Dimension X is a group of highly masterful musicians, though of course, there is nothing supernatural about that considering the fact that the band has been around for nearly twenty years. After the initial listening to the album, I found it falling squarely into the category of classic contemporary Prog-Metal invented by Fates Warning and Dream Theater in the second half of the '80s. The further listening experiment has displayed that while there are some certain similarities between the music of Dimension X and the early creation of each of the said bands, they exist exclusively on the structural level, while some of the contents lie beyond the Prog-Metal domain. All in all, there are no hints in this material that would directly indicate the sources of its creators' inspiration, which is of great importance to such an adversary of derivative music as I. One of the eight tracks, Introspection, is instrumental. This is a short, yet, full-fledged composition representing the ever-changing, classically influenced interplay between piano, string ensemble and Stick. The first two songs: Why and Open Letter have no pause between them, the latter appearing as the logical development of the former. These are the most intense and the only tracks with the Hammond-like solos forming the entire keyboard palette. (On the other songs, the primary keyboard and one of the central soloing instruments is piano, while the traditional synthesizer registers were rarely used on the album in general.) Train Wreck and Intrigue are similar compositions, though, as well as any of the still unnamed songs, these at times have a certain classical sense, the providers of which being not only keyboardist Jeff Konkol, but also guitarist Kent Herman. The bass and Stick player D R Burkowitz is the one who at times switches over to quasi improvisations, which, although being very effectual, don't influence upon the overall style. Andy Jimenez is a hater of even meters, and it's really amazing to hear his highly intricate drumming nearly everywhere and especially at the moments that suggest some plainer beats. Each of the musicians has his original, incomparable style of playing the instrument chosen, particularly vocalist David Hoover, the possessor of a strong voice with a wide timbre diapason, though he sings mostly in a distinctly dramatic key. Like almost everywhere on the album, the music on Corporate Ladder and the nearly 17-minute Xeno's Paradox is abundant in very frequent changes of theme, tempo and mood, immediately grabbing the listener's attention, but in this case, it would be more appropriate to tell of a conjunction of the primary style and symphonic Art-Rock, the latter component being of a completely unique nature. Each features also beautiful piano preludes and interludes, which reveal elements of Classical music. I can't say that Xeno's Paradox is the domain of paradoxical decisions, but it contains so many different themes that it would've been enough to create an average progressive album. I had to revisit it a couple of times to get a more or less vivid picture of its morphology. This is probably the best Prog-Metal epic I've heard this year. Unlike the others, the remaining song: Nothing's Changed is free of dark and dramatic colors and is the most accessible in the set, though its accessibility is relative in character, as there is still no place for unnecessary repetitions or any other simplistic maneuvers either.
Conclusion. "So, This Is Earth" by Dimension X is definitely a keeper and is a modern Prog-Metal classic. There is a strong probability that this CD will stay on my personal list of best albums of 2005. Well, have a happy listening!
VM: July 18, 2005
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