Review Summary: Dagoba bring back the harsh bite of What Hell Is About and fuse it with Face The Colossus-esque mature approach. The final result is more than pleasing
With 2008’s Face The Colossus
, French metallers Dagoba proved that they are more than your casual heavy as balls metal band. It was a fully mature album, exhibiting both Dagoba's versatility and ear for melody (something that the previous albums didn't have much). Now, in 2010, Dagoba have taken their mature approach and have coupled it with the heavy as balls, industrialized metal sound of Face The Colossus
’ equally good predecessor, What Hell Is About
. The result is Poseidon
, an album that exceeds in sounding both heavy and sophisticated.
While Face The Colossus
was in no way Dagoba gone soft, with tracks like "Face The Colossus", "The Nightfall And All Its Mistakes", and "Sudden Death" bringing us undoubtedly heavy metal cuts, I did miss some of that pure crushing force that What Hell Is About
packed, whilst listening to it. Poseidon
on its part fixes that problem, finding a solid middle ground between the two aforementioned albums. It takes the more calculated, well thought-out sound of the former, but also brings back the grittier bite of the latter. The only thing one could complain over, here, is the fact that the band didn’t put as much emphasis on melody as they did on Face The Colossus
. The industrial soundscapes are still there, but many a time they get buried under machinegun riffs and ferocious double bass. This in itself isn’t a big problem, since the overall sound does not directly suffer from it, but for those who appreciated the more melodic approach of Face The Colossus
, it may be a slight disappointment.
That is the only possible con to this album, though, and even that is arguable. Everything else on Poseidon
is well-calculated and superbly working. The instrumental side is delightfully heavy most of the time, but is nevertheless varied enough to keep the listener glued. Just when you are growing tired of the onslaught of double bass and heavy palm muted riffs, a relatively catchy chorus or a cool industrial effect makes its way to the forefront, delivering some needed contrast to the heavy general sound and varying things up. Much of the same can be said about Shawter’s vocals. While mainly shouting and screaming his way past songs, he doesn’t shy away from the occasional semi-melodic singing, keeping the vocal department equally interesting to the instrumental one. That’s especially good to hear since on Face The Colossus
, Shawter’s vocals weren't quite as excellent as on earlier releases. The problem, namely, was in his clean vocals, which just weren't as good as his screams, and in a couple of times, didn't flow well with the overall sound. He has since worked on his cleans, and on Poseidon
they're already much more enjoyable. It is great to see him back in fine form on here, even though it is obvious by now that he will never beat his own performance on What Hell Is About
, which by the way was just flat out immense.
There is one odd (not bad, just odd) thing about this album, though, that deserves mention - its outer concept. As far as music goes, Dagoba are still stylistically doing the same thing they have for the past three albums, and so it somewhat baffles me why they have decided to pick an outer pirate theme here. While their previous records did have a certain theme running through them too, they fit the music well. Here, the pirate theme does not. The band members took promo photos where they looked like modern day pirates, they titled this album Poseidon
, the cover art is basically just a ship, the tour following the release of Poseidon is titled "Death Cruise Tour", but none of this has anything to do with the music. Even the lyrics are almost devoid of pirate themes, with only a handful of exceptions, such as "Dead Lion Reef", where Shawter screams: "Do you really think that a lion needs a cage" / I’m a ***ing pirate, not your slave"
. The reason why I brought this up in the first place is because pirate themes have become somewhat of a gimmick in metal nowadays (Alestorm, Swashbuckle, Verbal Deception – all good examples), not to mention that pirates aren’t very metal to begin with. Because of that, I want to assure you that the music presented is not pirate-themed in any way, shape or form. No jolly sailorman tunes or "Yo ho ho"'s here, just four guys playing ballsy metal and having a good time (and apparently loving pirate tales, too!).
is the perfect embodiment of Dagoba as a band. It takes only the best from the group’s already great previous records and fuses those elements together into a well-working metal machine that features some of the tastiest material the band has ever put out. It is heavy, it is varied, it is well thought-out, and clocking in around 40 minutes, it doesn’t overstay its welcome. Quite simply, Poseidon
is what Dagoba is all about.