Review Summary: If At The Gates released another album tomorrow, it might sound something a bit like this...
'The only good human, is a dead human!
...THAT IS RIGHT!'
This band does not waste a second in blasting through your speakers, no sooner than you have started listening to the record a very short clip is played, followed by a furious growl with riffs and drumming to match. Straight away, you know what to expect, and apart from a few small surprises along the way, you pretty much get exactly what you expect throughout. This is melodic death metal done right, and done with a whole lot of rage. Every song hits like a wrecking ball, and the vocals are spat out with enough venom to make you really feel them. This band seem really pissed off, and it shows in the music.
The similarities to other bands become pretty clear throughout the album, though this band is in no way a straight copy of any of them. The breakneck pace reminds me strongly of Arch Enemy
and the enraged vocals and riffs reek of At the Gates
, which as most should know, is not a bad thing. But among all of this are melodic, often catchy hooks thrown in (mostly through the choruses) that give the band another facet to draw the listener in. Songs like 'I Can Hear The Dark' could come straight from an early In Flames
album except a lot
more aggressive than anything they have put out. There is only one song in the whole album that exceeds the four minute mark, and that is a good choice, for every song would drag on too long otherwise. What Dimension Zero plays is ferocious melodic death metal that will have you banging your head in no time. The mix of sometimes melodic, sometimes savage riffs with the energetic screams and rapid drumming makes the release thoroughly enjoyable, if a bit predictable.
The aforementioned 'I Can Hear The Dark' and 'Way to Shine' provide the only really different experiences on this album, being slightly slower and more epic compared to the rest of the album, and both feature some reasonably clean vocals that wouldn't really fit in on any of the other songs. But still, the band play to their strengths well, and it's certainly nice to not be surprised constantly on an album (especially if, like me, you have been listening to maudlin of the Well
and Protest the Hero
a lot recently). Though the album is somewhat predictable, it isn't too repetitive, towards the latter half of the album one or two riffs do sound similar, but Dimension Zero know how to write a good melodic chorus that can change the songs dramatically, hell, 'Deny' features a beautiful melodic interlude followed by an amazing guitar solo which caught me completely off guard the first time. Why did a guitar solo surprise me so much? Well, that is because of another problem. There are simply not enough of them on this album, the one on 'Deny' was mindblowing, yet I can only recall one more instance where a guitar solo is played (which is another rather excellent one on the last track), this is a real shame because it is obvious the guitarists in this band are extremely capable of playing their instruments. You only need to listen to some of the glorious melodic leads on tracks like 'The Was' or 'A Paler Shade of White' to hear that.
The guitarists are backed up by a good, if unspectacular, vocalist. His screams are thoroughly enjoyable and match the intensity of the music perfectly. There are also a few supporting growls thrown in for good measure and they just make his high pitched scream stand out more, he also has a reasonable clean voice, which although you can see he isn't that confident with, sounds pretty good when he uses it (mostly in 'Way to Shine' where he gives off a couple of verses with his sombre, atmospheric vocals), and although it wouldn't fit in with all of the tracks, I wouldn't mind him using it more often, as there is certainly something there to work with. The drumming, although rather good, is certainly not the bands selling point. There is so much more emphasis on the riffs and vocals that you tend to completely forget about it, but it is always consistent, and actually pretty impressive at points too.
While the album is very consistent throughout, some tracks are a bit forgettable, despite still being pretty good. 'Red Dead Heat' and 'Going Deep' for example, don't really stand out at all and just blend into the album rather than improving it in any way. But on the other hand, there are a couple of stand out tracks, 'I Can Hear The Dark' has been mentioned quite a few times for a good reason, it is probably the most epic and powerful song on the whole album. Starting off with a violin (!) and some clean vocals/speech it quickly bursts into some impressive drumming and the familiar screams of the vocalist with a decent riff. The song slows down slightly for a second before returning to the first riff used but with a little bit of variation to make to sound so much better and more melodic. The chorus is simple and catchy with a simple but brilliant melodic lead throughout it. There is a lot of variation in the song, lots of different riffs and ideas and it all works thankfully, plus, if you're like me you'll be shouting out the chorus the second time you hear it!
The entire album has a very similar feel to At The Gates, yet they're more melodic but still as aggressive. You get the feeling from the start that Dimension Zero know what they are doing with this album, they know exactly
what they are doing, but there are a few instances where they do experiment slightly and for this reason I cannot wait for their next album, I have a very good feeling about it.