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Daedalus - Leading Far From A Mistake
De Gladas Kapell - Spelar Nilsson
Dali's Dilemma - Manifesto for Futurism
Damien Steele - s/t
Damn The Machine - s/t
Day Six - The Grand Design
Dear & I - s/t
Dein Schatten - Das Ewige Eis
Defyance - Time Lost
Delphian - Oracle
Delphian - Unravel
Dial - Synchronized
Divine Regale - Ocean Mind
DGM - Hidden Place
Distillerie di Malto - Il Manuale dei Piccoli Discorsi
Divinity Destroyed - s/t demo
Dogpound - A Night In The Gutter
Dogpound - III
Dream Aria - In The Wake
Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence
Dreamscape - Very
Dreamside, The - Lunar Nature
Dust Connection, The - s/t


Daedalus - Leading Far From A Mistake
New LM Records
(2004)

I believe this is Italian prog metal band's first full-length album. At first, the music of Daedalus slightly reminds me of elegant side of Time Machine. Neverthelss, they tend to go into great interplay parts and intensified progressive sections. Even though they are relatively a newcomer, I am impressed with the way they pull off complex ensembles and energetic prog metal ensembles. It's a quite big plus for me. In the case of this band, the bass player, Fabio Gremo, has nice sensibility of bass playing with his nice songwriting ability to make the whole music interesting. Each player of Daedalus studies the instruments and songwriting really hard to make intriguing progressive metal music with heaviness and fresh contemporary ideas. Tasty keyboard works, memorable bass lines, elegant guitar solos, dynamic rhythmic patterns, and soaring vocal melodies would definately appeal to the fans of prog metal music in general. Overall, I have enjoyed Leaving Far From A Mistake so much. This is a really good job from Daedalus members. I like the way Daedalus perform and compose the music. Esp., I have enjoyed the songs like "Time", "Rem 8", and the title-track "Leading Far From a Mistake" very much. The cd grows on me with each repeated listening. If you are into the bands like Time Machine, Madsword, Exawatt, and Dream Theater, you'd enjoy this one so much. Again, this is another fine Italian prog metal bands with a bit of experimental touches and new ideas. Recommended to prog metal fans all over the world.
[website: http://www.progdaedalus.it/]

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De Gladas Kapell - Spelar Nilsson
Lion Music
(2005)

WOW!, What a fantastic music discovery in 2005 from Lion Music!!! This might not be my typical music to listen with regular basis, but I really think this Swedish complex prog jazz rock project called, De Gladas Kapell - Spelar Nilsson, is superbly fantastic. Before having checked out this album, I had no idea what I was gonna expect from their music. Yeah, I have been really impressed with highly energetic instrumentations by amazing musicians, such as, Samla Mammas Manna's Coste Apetrea (guitars), incredible Stefan Nilsson (piano/keyboards), Peter Sundell (drums), and Georg Wadenius (bass). You'll see nothing short of great compositions, instrumental performances, and energetic improvisations. If you also enjoy listening to intricate jazz/fusion and hot-burning crossover bands tilting toward some prog sides like Return To Forever, Dixie Dregs, Samla Mammas Manna, JTB, and Mahavishnu Orchestra, then De Gladas Kapell would be a definitely highly interesting music platter. The De Gladas Kapell's album was originally released in 1978 back then, but this music is still capable of blowing away instrumental music fans nowadays. This is not prog metal what's so ever, but this Swedish jazz prog music from De Gladas Kapell is quite impressive. Highly recommended for technically intricate instrumental fans.

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Dali's Dilemma - Manifesto for Futurism
Magna Carta
(1999)

I think that 1999 is really an important year for prog metal scene, because there are tons of great releases and new bands coming out. Dali's Dilemma is indeed one of most important prog metal bands who released fantastic debut album, "Manifesto for Futurism". Manifesto for Futurism features lots of nice, melodic, powerful, and intricate ensembles. All members of Dali's Dilemma are highly skillfull musicians. For example, Matt Guillory's keyboard playings and solos are all amazing. Patrick Reyes' guitar playing is really technical and complex in the style of melodic metal/prog metal. Rhythm sections of Dali's Dilemma are really technical and almost perfectly synchronized with intricate solos created by keyboards and guitars. Mathew Bradly's vocal performance is hard rocking with bit husky sounds. Manifesto for Futurism is in the format of Dream Theater school, but they created in their own way. Definately, Dali's Dilemma is one of best prog metal bands in new generation. I really hope that they will keep making amazing works. Very good band, Indeed!! Highly Recommended!!

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Damien Steele - s/t
Progressive Music Management
(2005)

In recent few years, Progressive Music Management (PMM) has been successfully introducing us new projects and groups playing high quality progressive music fusing complexity with hard edge like Razor Wire Shrine, Mythologic, Gratto, and Andeavor, to name just a few. This time, I'd like to add one of the legendary U.S. progressive metal band called, Damien Steele on this page. By the way, please do not get mixed up with the same name of the pro-wresler from United States (according to the info on PMM). I believe it's just a coincidence and nothing to do with the name of pro-wresler, mind you.

Okay back to the review thoughts from mine. To be honest with you, I had never heard of the name of this band or their music until I got the copy of Damien Steele last year. Astonishingly, they have started their music activities since 1982!!, but they used to have been very active during 80s and early 90s, then they vanished from the U.S. east coast metal scene.... Surprisingly, Damien Stelle has been already known to die-hard progressive power fans in the underground-scene. However, the band never released any official album until 2005. The demands of their fans increased on the surface level recently. Finally, their album was released in 2005 with some unreleased tracks for bonus.

I would say the music of Damien Steele appeal to the fans of early days of Queensryche and John Arch era's Fates Warning. Most tracks on their self-titled album have guitar-oriented progressive metal sounds with soaring lead vocals courtesy by Mark Hopkins. What makes me interested to listen is the guitar leads/rhythmic works of Steve Matusik (Andeavor/Mythologic) and Mike Learn. Unless I read the info sheet of PMM, I may not have noticed Steve Matusik taking an imporatant role for this band. Indeed, the guitar teams of Steve and Mike provide exotic melody lines and passionate guitar passages. In addition, the band pulls off nice odd-time/off beats with dynamic rhythm section by drummer Ben Tomlin and bassist Paul Staub.

Most guitar-driven prog metal fans really appreciate one of this archival works from PMM, esp., with the help of Steve Matusik and all members of Damien Steele. To me, the music of Damien Steele might not grab you instantly. It might take several spins to digest their songs fully. In fact, it was a bit difficult to get into their music for the first time, due to lots of high tone vocals and dark brooding rhythm patterns featured. Nevertheless, once you get used to their trademark of heavy guitar harmonies and melodic lines with dynamic sounds, then you are going to appreciate what they have accomplished during early 90s. Damien Steele is an interesting discovery of guitar-driven prog metal featuring unique rhythmic patterns and dark textures. After taking several spins on the cd player, I've got drawn to their music and lyrics deeper and deeper. One of unsung progressive power metal heroes from United States. Guitar-oriented prog metal fans who are into Fates Warning and Rush need to pay attention to their resurrection and return to the metal scene.

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Damn The Machine - s/t
A&M Records
(1993)

Damn The Machine is the band featuring ex. Megadeth guitarist Chris Poland and his brother, Mark Poland on drums. Back in 1993, I remember mainstream hard rock and metal in general had been struggling to find their way. In those days, Damn The Machine bravely released monumental heavy instrumental with great vocalist, Dave Clemmons, who also performs guitars, and David Randi on bass through major record company, A&M Records known as a home for Bryan Adams and Extreme. I am impressed with the sound production on this album that is really crisp and crystal clear. The musicianship of Damn The Machine members are really top-notch to pull off really incredible powerful driving ensemble featuring some twists and turns. In addition, they utilize several tempo-changes and odd-meters. Really pounding and hard hitting with intelligent lyrics dealing with political statements and their views of world. Highlight of this album is undoubtedly Poland brother's impressive instrumental works. It is kind of hard to pinpoint what Damn The Machine sound to others. Well, I could say that this band really appeals to the fans of later days of Megadeth featuring Marty Friedman, Tiles, Rush, and Chris Poland related projects including Ohm. For this review, I stopped by to revisit this cd several times. Re-visiting this cd gives me enjoyable rewards and gives shivers down on my spine. Really excellent heavy instrumentation and Dave Clemmons' impressive vocal performance that has passion and energetic phrasings. It is kind of sad to know that they have already stopped making music.

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Day Six - The Grand Design
Lion Music
(2010)

What a pleasant surprise this is! 'The Grand Design' is the second full length album for a Netherland-based progressive metal band. I heard a good rumour about this promising band Day Six from people who travelled from Groningen (NL), when I attended Headway Festival some years ago. Unfortunately, I could not catch the first show of Headway Festival back then, so I hardly imagined what sort of prog metal music they had performed in a live situation. It's really good to see that Day Six have constantly been playing and making original progressive music since they formed a group. All right - having said a kind of obligatory introduction, I'd like to begin with my thoughts on their new album. Musically, the second album of Day Six is a quite unique and suprisingly refreshing progressive metal music to my ears. Obviously, this cd sounds different from typical prog metal or prog rock music. Surely, it contains lots of bombastic and intricate ensembles with impressive sound production. Some heavier sounds on this album reminds you of Dream Theater, Porcupine Tree, Fates Warning and Opeth. However, this young Dutch group are rather not following the footsteps of well-known bands mentioned above. 'The Grand Design' showcases their original approach to both progressive metal and symphonic rock combined with some fresh ideas and contemporary elements. Their latest cd is a concept album based on their original Sci Fi story -- centering around extra-terrestrial lives found in Antactica and concealing the fact of existence of Aliens with conspiracies and so forth. Although this cd contains nine songs, the length of some songs like "Inside" and "Massive Glacial Wall"exceeds more than nine minutes. It definitely requires that the listener should take times to absorb what's going on. The Grand Design did not click on me instantly, but some intensive listening sessions help me to find out some precious discoveries from this great album. Yeah, this must be a definitely quite ambitious move for Day Six; they deserve what they have done on this album. From beginning to end, it contains emotional coaster ride with tons of impressive sounds and amazing moments. They successfully balance between intensity and sombre atmospheres with a great musical sensibility. There are lots of bombastic ensembles on the first half of the cd, especially. Rhythmically, the band pulls off quite intricate and complex parts. On the other hand, they are also good at creating sombre atmospheres and quite dramatic moments reminding me of Pink Floyd and some other British prog bands. At last, I have to mention that its engineering works with mixing and mastering on the cd are quite superb to dramatize the music. Wow, I could say this new album of Day Six is such an extraordinary accomplishment. Even though it took times to delve into the whole album, it's certainly worthwhile to take time for enjoying everything on this cd. Highlight of this album would be the colossal track called "Inside" (which clocks in 16 minutes 27 seconds!!). It's highly recommended for both progressive metal and rock listeners who get into a demanding concept album with odd-time beats and mood changes. Totally impressive!!

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Dear & I - Tendency
WMMS

Music Is Intelligence/WMMS has released several interesting prog, neo-prog, and prog metal bands. Unfortunately, Music Is Intelligence/WMMS stopped their businees, due to financial and busines matters. As time passes by, it is getting harder and harder to look for the artists of Music Is Intelligence/WMMS nowadays. Here I writes the review of Dear & I in this section. Although I listened to this one entirely, I would say this cd does not intrigue me as much as I expected before checking out this music. It is kind of odd combination of metal with neo-progish atmospheric keyboard, but it is not bad. In some parts, their music remind me of Metal Church, Motorheard, Accept, and Breaker. Dear & I is much different from other intricate prog bands or technical prog metal bands of Music Is Intelligence in general. Rather, their ensemble is more staright-forward and quite heavier than other roosters on Music Is Intelligence label. It is almost there to reach enjoyable moments, but their music never reach my comfort zone. Solid and tight with heavy edge performance I could hear. Unfortunately, I don't know what they are doing now. Perphas, this cd is not the cd for everyone. However, if you are curious about Music Is Intelligence bands and heavy powerful sounds, then check out this band.

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Dein Schatten - Das Ewige Eis
Irond Record-Russia
(2003)

German musician, Dieter Bornschlegal (a.k.a. BornZero), is relatively recognized in the field of German music scene (probably, German prog rock listeners will recognized his works of Guru Guru). Dein Schatten is BornZero's new project that has been categorized as electronically driven haunting music. Probably, the majority of people who are reading this article is unfamiliar with Dein Schatten. Please be aware that this cd is not the case I usually write review articles, so it seems kind of challenging stuff to get used to in the beginning. After listening to 14 tracks on Das Ewige Eis, I find myself enjoying this synthesizer drenched cyber sounds that remind me of some modern club/technotoronic atmospheres (actually, I like electronica music in certain level). Ok, musically Dein Schatten focus on electonic/synth oriented music with occasional guitar distortions and nice clean guitars. On the first half of this cd features Rammstein-ish cyber electronica, and a few other tracks have kraut-rock vibes and modernized psychedelic flavers as well. When the music hit in the side of the second half of Das Ewige Eis, I was drawn into kind of mature instrumentation and cohesively well-layered lush keyboard arrangements. Honestly, I admit that I am not an expert of this kind of electronica and dark ambient music like what Dein Schatten plays. However, I am kind of impressed with second half of the cd in particular, because of sort of accessible tracks. Speaking of the mastermind of this project, BornZero seems to assemble his musical ideas really intelligently to make dark atmospheres. If you enjoy ambient and keyboard-driven dark wave music with a slight kraut rock approach, then you will find the enjoyment during the listening session. Well, of course, I am not only mainly a prog metal listener, but also tries to be open-minded toward any different types of music that has excellent instrumentation and unique ideas. Luckily, I enjoyed listening to this one so far. Unfortunately, I have no idea about what the lyrical contents mean exactly. Although I am not a big fan of the low voice and Nick Cave/Iggy Pop-ish singing, BornZero use this type of vocal performance effectively to enhaunce the mood effectively. (Ok, before finishing up this review, once again I would like to state that this music is not prog metal at all)

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Defyance - Time Lost
Independent Release
(1999)

Before talking about the band Defyance, I would like to reflect on underground U.S. Metal scene a little bit to understand Defyance closer. In 90s, many Power Metal style bands had been struggling to survive in U.S. music scene, while Grunge/Alternative Heavy Music was rampant. However, some underground metal bands kept working hard to play their own music from their hearts without leaning any help from radio and MTV air-play supports. Perhaps, word-of-mouth & constant gig activity was the way to approach remnants of metal/heavy rock supporters in U.S. Annual Powermad festival managed by Keith Menzer (MYSTIC FORCE) in Baltimore area has been long standing one of ProgPower festival to give chances to support lots of underground metal bands. Defyance appeared to be one of hopeful US Metal bands at the festival of POWERMAD constantly. Now it is time to introduce Time Lost album of Defyance. Musically, Time Lost has the elements of powerful US Metal with essence of prog metal and some keyboards. As long as I listen to Time Lost, their music appeals fans of Auditory Imagery, Fates Warning, and Crimson Glory. Basically, this album seemed to be recorded, produced, and arranged by mostly members of Defyance with some help from studio enginners. The band focuses on straight forward powerful metal in US tradition with hard guitar playings of Brent A. Scott, soaring singing of Scott Andreas, rhythmic foundation laid down by Rob McGrath (bass) and Doug Beary (drums). Occasionally, some tasty keyboards by their honorary 6th member, Matt Bell, added on the parts of each song to give melodic atmopsheres. Even though this album was independent release, Time Lost contains relatively good sound production and pumping energetic heavy metal. In addition, it is quite fine power metal from faster up-tempo tunes reminding me of Crimson Glory and Iron Maiden to lively middium tempo tunes. This is their first album I believe from independent release, but it is well-written and performed. I would not say ground-breaking powerful metal, but Time Lost will appeal die-hard US style power metal with some dose of heavieness and enough edge.
[http://www.defyance.com]
[Defyance 1495 Park St. Knoxville, IA 50138 U.S.A.]

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Delphian - Oracle
Lion Music
(2005)

Southern Netherland-based, melodic atmospheric metal band's debut full-length album from Lion Music label. As you see that, Netherland in these days have been offering lots of great new bands and promising acts. Everytime I encounter Netherland's musical groups and artists, I feel really impressed with their dedication and right attitude toward making and playing music. Delphian is featuring a soprano female vocalist Aniek Jansses, but they do not go into Gothic Metal territory very much in my views. They tend to play heavier grooves and subtle melodic approach. I think they are quite different from contemporary Gothic or melancholic doom metal bands, overall. Additionally, this band features Sun Caged's new drummer Roel van Helden as an imporatant band's musical foundation. For Delphian, subtle structures and ensemble oriented approach are very imporatnt over technicality. Each song contains etherial Aniek's beautifully haunting vocal melodies with heavy guitar-driven rhythm sections. What makes me happy is that Aniek plays flute solos and inputs quite a lot to mesmerize Delphian's music itself, contrasting some heavy parts. To be honest, I thought this band's main direction would be more staright-forward simple power metal, however my assumption was quite wrong. What they have acheived on Oracle album is much more than that. They combine traditional melodic power metal, atmospheric metal, prog rock influences, and bits of dynamic progressive metal elements. Oracle packs some unique and interesting ingredents together. Esp., the latter half of Oracle album has much more charms and impressive moments in my opinion. I hope they continue making etherial and hauntingly attractive music. The music of Delphian would appeal to the fans of Brave, Moon of Steel, Synergetic Protocol, and The Saturnine I guess. :-) If you are curious about them, check out their website. One of new risin stars in 2005.
[website: http://www.delphian-metal.nl/]

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Delphian - Unravel
Lion Music
(2007)

'Unravel' by the Netherlands based Delphian is one of most anticipated prog metal releases of 2007 for me. It's definitely good to see them come back in the scene of 2007 with their second full-length album. I was curious about what they would come up with second release from Lion Music. What I hear on this second album is that they are not suffering from sophomore syndrome at all. I think Delphian carefully crafted all songs that sound very friendly and accessible for the listeners who check out the music of this group for the first time. If you are not familiar with this group, you need to pay attention to see that the great drummer and leader of this group is Roel van Heldon who is also a full-time member of excellent prog metal group Sun Caged. Speaking of Sun Caged, the keyboard player Rene Kroon also contributes his impressive keyboard works on a few songs on 'Unravel" as a guest player. Stylistically, the latest album of quality Dutch group is not very different from what they were showcasing on their debut album 'Oracle'. However, their song writing skills have matured with utilizing a female lead vocalist/flutist Aniek Janssen quite well and effectively. Probably, the nature of music on Delphian has stepped a notch with heavier and a bit crunchier than their predecessor. The instrumentation of this group is of course very solid and quite tasty, too. Unlike other typical prog metal groups, they do not usually put the emphasis on complexity big time. Relativly, they add some colors of tasty instrumentation with nice melodic sensibilities. The focal point of this group is definitely song-oriented approach and Aniek's excellent lead vocal performance. Overall, this new album shows their maturity and quite unique atmospheric-flavored prog metal sounds in every area. Again, this new album of Delphian is another incredible achievement. Congratulations to Roel van Helden and co. Lastly, but not at least, the drum works and his contributions of Roel van Heldon toward this album are really successful to my ears. Nicely done!!

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Dial - Synchronized
ProgRock Records
(2007)

I think there are lots of nice releases coming out in the year of 2007 alone. Dial's debut full-length debut album, 'Synchronized', also gives me a quite strong impact. Fortunately, I got a chance to see them live twice in the Netherlands. Probably, Dial has been recognized as a group featuring ex. Pain of Salvation member Kristoffer Gildenlow. But do not consider this group's only focal point is Kristoffer Gildenlow alone. In addition, better not expect the intricate music like Pain of Salvation. The core of Dial consists of Kristoffer on bass/guitars/vocals, female singer/bassist Liselotte Hegt who has been known a member of Cirrah Niva, and guitar player Rommert van der Meer. It might be a difficult to pinpoint their music precisely, but I could say they combine modern symphonic rock with contemporary elements and atmospheric prog elements. Styliscitally, what they play sounds a little similar to what The Gathering, Pink Floyd, Dead Soul Tribe, and Peter Gabriel do. Lead vocal parts are shared with two vocalists Kristoffer and Liselotte. On the song like "Hello", you can hear the duet vocals of Kristoffer and Liselotte. The music of Dial has quite atmospheric and emotional to my ears. There are also some modern and alternative music influences that I do not usually pay attention with relative amounts, but what Dial do on this 1st album sounds quite attractive and soothing, especially the lead vocals of Kristoffer Gildenlow on most songs and Liselotte's passionate female lead vocals on the rest songs. On the other hand, a few songs featuring Kristoffer's lead vocal performances have somewhat the feelings and expression of Pain of Savaltion's Daniel Gildenlow, but never get dangerously close or similar. Anyway, the music of Synchronized is very varied and lots of interesting things going on without leaning on the influences of too-complex or intricate progressive music. Basically, the music format of Dial is very friendly and listenable for any music fans. So far, I've been impressed with rich music expression and diverse sounds with solid music performance. Dial sounds quite different from the symphonic rock groups featured on ProgRock Records. Dial presents quite unique sounds and atmospheric modern prog music on their very first album. I wish they keep up a good work as a strong unit. Highly recommended for modern prog fans and even Pain of Salvation fans who enjoy Kristoffer Gildenlow's works. Synchronized album has very interesting music entirely, so I've enjoyed this quite a lot.

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Divine Regale - Ocean Mind
Metal Blade
(1997)

Ocean Mind is Divine Regale's first full-length album reelased from Metal Blade. Divine Regale features nice keyboard lead and complex ensemble with memorable refrains and powerful driving rhythm section. Stylistically, their music reminds me of a cross between Fates Warning and Rush with Dream Theater flavors. Dwight Hill's melodic vocal tones are slightly a bit close to Rush's Geddy Lee. The Bassist, Frank Couture, handles moving bass lines effectively. I think Jason Keazer's keyboard works are really shining in this album, he is one of focal points in this band. Chris Anderson holds important roles to keep busy grooves and driving forces. Gary Leighton and Daniel Elliot helpt to add heavy guitar attacks to enhance their hard prog metal sounds. Ocean Mind features hard driving tunes like "Ocean Mind", "Change?" and "Cry To Heaven" with nice fat synth solos. Atmospheric/emotional tunes like "No Part of This" and "Leaves" set the different tones on this album as well. There are also mysterious tunes a la "Shadowed words "Forgotten", "Underworld" featuring impressive electric guitar solo and lines. Dramatic epic track "Forever Changing Winds is quite impressive. New version of melodic "Horizon" that was featured on their previous E.P. is well-written song that is one of my favorite Divine Regale tracks. What this band impresses me most is Dwight Hill and Chris Anderson writes pretty introspective and insightful lyrics on their music. Their music does not go overly technical neither intricate, however Divine Regale play really melodically nice ensemble with intelligent arrangements and powerful driving complex section. Hopefully, they come back to make follow-up album in the future, if they are still around in the scene of prog metal.

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DGM - Hidden Place
Scarlet Records
(2003)

WOW!, I really enjoy DGMfs latest release, Hidden Place. I recall that they started their career as melodic Italian HM. Since their previous excellent album (Dreamland), they have been transforming into melodic prog metal band more or less. To me, this is really big welcome. They know how to combine exciting guitar/keyboard solos with great melody lines and catchy hooks. I guess that people who are into the style of both Symphony X and Dream Theater would enjoy Hidden Place and their predecessor, Dreamland. DGMfs musicianship is really high with nice chops and complex parts included on their latest release. Man, I am so happy that there are tons of nice Italian prog metal/rock bands coming endelessly. You canft go wrong with this album.

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Distillerie Di Malto - Il Manuale dei Piccoli Discorsi
Independent Release
2001

Probably, this is the very first time for me to receive pure prog rock oriented promo cd from Italy. Stylistically, Distillerie di Malto remindes me a little bit of Banco Del Mutuo Soccorso, PFM, and other italian acts mostly with some influences from symphonic British prog bands a la King Crimson, Camel, and Jethro Tull on the other hand. Distillerie di Malto basically offers nostalgic and melodic Italian prog rock sounds featuring driving rocking guitars and retro-keyboards with energetic rhythm sections. Fabrizio Pellicciaro's vocal style is quite smooth and giving warmness in the middium range. There are lots of interesting movements: faster tunes, slow and acoustic sections, many retrospective mellotron and analog lush synths/keyboards/organs intertwined with good amounts of flutes, and nice rock guitar tones. In recent years, we find many hot Italian prog rock acts. For example, DFA, Deus Ex Machina, and Finnistre. Distillerie di Malto should be also included in the category under new movement of Italian modern-retro prog rock hopes. If you are fans of symphonic prog and Italian prog, then Distillerie di Malto should appeal your tastes. In the case of Italian acts, I usually gets familiar with Italian Prog Metal bands like Madsword, Evil Wings, Arkhe, and Scenario. However, the Italian acts, such as Distillerie di Malto and Deus Ex Machina make me to keep an eye on Italian prog rock oriented bands, because Italy has been known as the country gave a birth to great bands, e.g., Le Orme, Banco, PFM, New Trolls, Area, and such giants. Unfortunately, I have no idea about what they are singing about (since I have no knowledge about Italian language), but their music seems to have its own lyricism and fantasic atmospheres from their music. As far as I see the cover art of "il manuale dei discorsi", the theme and concept has been something related to "outside scenary" is extremely identical to the painting on the canvas...it is kind of no boundary between painted scenary and outside scenary which is also some kind of in the gallery. While listening to the music with gazing into the art of the jacket, "il manuale dei discorsi" slowly draw the listeners to the imaginary and atmospheric scenes unfolded in their world. Instrumentally, they are quite solid. They know how to play complex and exciting pieces without showing too much redundant technical ensembles. It is quite effective and nostalgic overall sounds. At the same time, I enjoy their combination of thrilling instrumental approach with occasional odd-time signatures and melodic song oriented style in Italian. I wish I could read lyrics and understand Italian explanation liner notes. Really well-done prog rock album from Italy.

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Divinity Destoryed - s/t
Independent Release
(2001)

Divinity Destroyed is quite unique heavy rock/metal band from New Jersey, USA. Stylistically, they play heavy and up-tempo metal. Yet, they add different spices, such as melodic hardcore/punk, death metal, gothic flavors, classical music, and prog metallic beats/staccato on their music. What I hear from their music is that they try to maintain uptempo hard driving music in their own definition and music character on each tune. The sound and production are relatively made pretty good. Perhaps, some people might feel that it is a little dry side due to independent release, and within an affordable budget. As for vocal performance, lead vocalist keep singing clean in the style of Nu Metal/Melodic core most time. On a few tunes, he sings in the manner of distorted death metal voice. While there are heavy guitar and rhythmic assault, keyboard/piano sounds are always present to maintain melodic parts. Esp., their rhythmic section of guitar/bass/drum is really tight and solid, that is really big plus. According to their website, they constantly play at live gigs, so this band is getting better and better for performance wise. So keep up making really fresh and original heavy music.

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Dogpound - A Night In The Gutter
Lion Music
(2005)

A Night In The Gutter is Dogpound's 2nd album from Swedish hard rockers. Even though I have never checked out their first offering, The Hellbum, Dogpound proves themselves writing hook-laden catchy songs on this latest album. Usually, Swedish hard rock bands feature lots of keyboards sounds including synth, organ, or piano, but this band hardly use keyboards surprisingly. Mostly, they put the emphasis on guitar-oriented strong heavy rock elements over complex sections. I think they manage to play really powerful, yet friendly Swedish hard rock music with heavy edge. Overall, I am impressed with the way they make music. One of great hard rock albums released in 2005 I believe. I think people who are into powerful Scandinavian hard and heavy music would enjoy Dougpound's latest offering. To me, European acts always keep offering nice surprises every time.

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Dogpound - III

Lion Music
(2007)

'III' is obviously the third full-length album by melodic Swedish Hard Rock/Metal band. Dogpound stay in the style of melodic heavy sounds, yet once again, they successfully balance out hook-laden melodies and powerfully metallic sounds. Each hard rocking track on 'III' is quite fascinating to my ears, and quite been impressed big time without any doubts. Additionally, Dogpound's lead vocal melodies are quite tasty for all rock fans (thanks to the hard works from these Swedish musicians). 'III' features punching tracks, and dynamic up-tempo songs with a few melodic ballads. What this Swedish hard rockers offer on this latest album would satisfy all music fans who are dying for finding out quality melodic rock/metal music. Some people could argue that the sounds of Dogpound are not closer to break new boundaries, but most melodic rock fans do not usually care for such opinions. What Dogpound showcase here is really pleasant and quite confident for quality Scandinavian rock music fans in general. Probably, 'III' album is one of their best efforts ever. The instrumentation of theirs is quite shining entirely, and the production of this latest cd is very crisp and precise. Overall, it's very nice hard rock/metal album for everyone. Highly recommended for melodic and hard-hitting rock music lovers. Very nicely done, again.

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Dream Aria - In The Wake
Indpendent release
(2005)

Dream Aria is a Canadian prog band, but they are not really following the footsteps of many other contempoarary prog bands borrowing the musical ideas and influences from vintage prog sounds. I suggest that you had better not expect something very symphonic or contemporary prog sounds like Spock's Beard and The Flower Kings. Their intension is quite different from those contemporary prog groups or New Tendencies, etc. Dream Aria is not a very typical prog rock band, what's so ever. Some songs featured here come to remind me of Sarah Brightman, bits of world music, U.K. contemporary music, and New Age for intance. What I have been amused with their music is lead vocalist of Dream Aria, Ann Burstyn. I was quite suprised and entertained by the female singer's vocal strength and expressive singing bordering between jazz and neo-prog. The keyboards by Donald Stagg and the guitars by Jozef Pilasanovic are carefully used while the rhythm section keeps the pace steady and occasionally pull off poweful energy. So far, the last track, '11th Hour' is my most favorite one, because it's the most hardest and rocking dynamically. Basically, they put a litlle the emphasis on keyboard soundscapes and electronic/techno-trance parts, but their music in general is quite pleasant for even non-prog listeners as well. Personally, I would prefer the bombastic and dynamic tune like '11th Hour'. If possible, I suggest that I would like to hear more epic and intricate arranged instrumental sections with slight complexity. Overall, Dream Aria's music would appeal to the fans of melodic neo-prog music and female-fronted rock.
[Dream Aria's official page: http://www.dreamaria.com/]

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Dream Theater - Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence

Elektra Records
(2002)

Well, this album might be one of most controversial prog metal albums released in recent years. When I read majority's opinions on 6DoIT, most opinions are quite disappointed and confused. On the other hand, some other people really enjoy the result of 6DoIT. As you know that there are mixed opinions going on in the case of this Dream Theater's latest album. If you are big fan of the style on "Images And Words" or "Scenes From A Memory" albums, you might encounter difficulties to enjoy this album entirely. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence might be very different from their previous works. Perhaps, this album is one of most ambitious and new creations from Dream Theater camp. Some tunes, such as "Misunderstood", are quite unordinary ones, so they are exploring into new territory of prog metal music. Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence consists of two cds: First CD is kind of concentrated on modern heavy progressive style with metallic edge. Second CD is featuring melodic tunes and some kind of symphonic American progressive hard rock tastes. Well, overall Dream Theater seem to be going different direction from the sounds and style that they have established on Images And Words/Scenes From A Memory albums. Indeed, the musicianships of Dream Theater are of course very high, and instrumental sections are very blistering, but for me it is getting hard to enjoy this one fully. What this album tend to lack might be some kind of catchier hooks and memorable melody lines. There are lots of incredible guitar/keyboard solos everywhere on 6DoIT, but there are not enough magic that we used to adore in Dream Theater music.

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Dreamscape - Very
Rising Sun Productions
(1999)

'Very' album is the second album from a Munich-based melodic prog metal group. As I've seen some quite impressive prog metal groups from Germany in previous years that have a great musicianship and superb song-writing skills, Dreamscape has also become one of important and excellent German prog metal groups along with Vanden Plas and Sieges Even. This album definitely brought them to the higher stardum as one of top European prog metal groups that can play and make extraordinary dramatic and exciting music with a quite nice melodic sensibility. During this period, the combination between lead vocalist Hubi Meisel and instrumentalists of this group is unexceptionally shining and exiciting to hear entirely. Stylistically, indeed, there are some influences and hints from Dream Theater, but they have managed to create their own identity and epic flavors with European lyricism. There are lots of exiciting interplays and great guitar/keyboard solos with bombastic rhythm section. What could I say more? Dreamscape's second album 'Very' has lots of their own charms and enchanting moments if you are into technical yet dramatic progressive metal music. Highly recommended album, but this edition of Rising Sun Production has been getting difficult to find nowadays. Currently, their new version of Very has been reissued as 'Re-Voiced'. However, the lead vocalist of Re-Voiced album is different from Hubi Meisel's vocal version. Anyway, both version of the instrumentation and ensemble has almost similar moods, except for vocal melody.

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The Dreamside - Lunar Nature
Lion Music
(2009)

'Luna Nature' is the latest album of Dutch gothic rock/alternative music group The Dreamside. Although this cd is their first release from Lion Music, this five-piece group have previously released four previous albums so far. The band's music obviously centers around the Italian-Dutch female vocalist Kemi Vita's etherial and beautiful melodies; Kemi's singing performance is uplifting and conveying emotions on each track nicely. Lyrical themes of the music are based on love, human relationship, and supernatural subjects, etc. Before checking out their music, I would almost consider them playing a typical gothic metal or female fronted theatrical metal. Except for several tracks like "Unspoken" that have strong tones of symphonic gothic metal, the music of The Dreamside is varied within the genre of gothic and electronic atmospheric rock. Originally, their early works sound very far from gothic metal; but gradually their music has transformed into an unique gothic rock music with hard edge and new elements. It's my first try to hear their cd throughly, yet I relatively enjoyed this whole album. The production of 'Lunar Nature' is really impressive entirely; it definitely shows that the engineering team and producer of this cd have done a superb job. Some people might compare the music of The Dreamside to recent great gothic metal groups like Lacuna Coil and The Gathering. It makes sense while hearing some similarities with those bands, but do not be fooled by this reference point or comparisons. The Dreamside is never aiming to follow the steps of what these mentioned bands above. This Dutch gothic group has established their original sounds and musical style within themselves. As I get into their music in details, major tracks on this cd of 'Lunar Nature' sound being classified under electronic gothic rock or heavy atmospheric metal with new wave influences. Even though this group mainly consists of the local Dutch musicians, there are some guests outside of the group. Due to the inputs from the member of Information Society and Born From Pain handling synthesizers and programming devices, the majority of the songs on the cd sounds close to industrial and electronic flavors that appeal to the listener who also enjoys techno and club music. Of course, the nature of the music that The Dreamside perform is definitely gothic-oriented rock/metal; nevertheless they do not only stay in the same area over and over again. This kind of music typically tends to get doomy in slow-tempo or dwell in the middium tempo. In the case of The Dreamside, they also include Nightwish-like faster tempo tracks and also symphonic metal-oriented bombastic tracks as well. Therefore, you find various songs with different pace and tempo; that is a big plus for the listener to hear a whole album. If you are into symphonic gothic metal with synthetic sounds and programming, the entire music on 'Lunar Nature' sounds very fascinating. The instrumentation of the band is very solid and nicely done, due to hard works and great reputation on the scene of gothic/alternative music in Europe. Nowadays, lots of quality gothic metal bands compete each other to emerge on the top. The approach of The Dreamside is slightly different from most gothic groups; they have managed to maintain bombastic sounds with some theatrical and a sombre touch on this latest album. The music of this Netherland-based group might require you to take time to grab everything; but it is surely worthwhile to give some spins to digest the cd. The gothic metal fan who also enjoys Dead Can Dance, Bjork, and similar staffs would definitely get intrigued quite a lot I assume.

http://www.dreamside.nl/
http://www.myspace.com/dreamside

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The Dust Connection - s/t
DreamMusic
(2004)

Since I attended prog metal- oriented Headway Festival twice, I have come to realized that there are lots of quality Netherland-based prog rock/metal bands out there. I do not have enough resources and infos about why there are many young prog bands in Netherland alone, but I assume Netherland has some kind of good organizations and media supports for those bands and prog rock/metal movements. For instance, the organizations like ProgPower Europe and Headway Festival encourage both local and international bands to get exposed and promote their fine music to European regions and other countries. I hope this tradition keeps continued, and definately I welcome this tendencies in the scene :-)

Last April, I happened to meet a nice prog rock/musician called Martijn Balsters who is also responsible for ProgPower Europe. During having a conversation with him, I really appreciate the existence of ProgPower giving big fun for prog metal enthusiasts all over the world, because we used to have dreamed of attending such a prog metal/rock-oriented music festival, but nowhere we could find such an event except for Powermad Festival in U.S. and smaller prog fests. Before leaving the venue taken place at Headway Festival, I asked him for his band's current musical endeavor called The Dust Connection. Kindly enough, Martijn sent me the product of The Dust Connection's first offering (demo products, btw). I really appreciate your big help, Martijn. The contents of The Dust Connection grab me strongly enough, so I have decided to add this review articles on my website.

Probably, some of you might have been able to recognize the name of The Dust Connection from Netherland before. This band has an experience to have performed on the stage of ProgPower Europe 2004. Originally, this band was born from the ashes of late prog rock band Forever Times in 2003. What I have heard so far on this materials is really impressive. I am glad to see that they have pursed to perform solid prog rock music combining with both prog metal approach and symphonic rock elements. This self-titled demo product also contains the footages of recording sessions and videoclip "The Grand Final" as DVD format. I strongly believe that their music on this product has potensials to draw both prog metal and symphonic rock fans. I think first two songs have the elements of neo-prog/prog metal style keyboard solos and backings with nice hard-driving ensembles. In addition, I have enjoyed the guitar works and impressive solos of Martijn Balsters. The latter two songs have slightly more heavier prog metal approach and intricate parts that I totally enjoyed so much. The unisons of guitars and keyboards are tasty, and well harmonized in some sections. The lead vocalist of the band sings in his pleasant ranges, and not going into too much forced sounds. Overall I really enjoyed the pleasant and well-arranged prog music that they have created on the product. I hope they will finish up their first full-length debut album in the future. So far so good, they have done really great jobs on this self-titled demo product featuring nice materials entirely.

If you are curious about their music and videoclip, etc., I recommend that you need to pay a visit to The Dust Connection's website. Recently, their website has been up-dated, and up-loading some nice bonus. Check out their website. [http://www.thedustconnection.com/]

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