Review Summary: Still plays like an ideology formed from the integral concepts of many genres.
At first, it may seem as though Dinoaea has a bit of an identity complex. Their Bandcamp website (dionaea.bandcamp.com) tags them under numerous categories including ambient, avant garde, experimental, grind, indie, mathcore, metal, post grind, post rock, progressive, tech metal, and finally, New Jersey. It soon becomes apparent that most, if not all of these tags apply for better or worse, compiling the group’s intricate methodology. Still, the band’s second release, not only shows these tags/genres as ideas, it also frames them as an ideology presented in three lengthy chapters. Upon giving the album its dues, one cannot help but feel like the album as a whole is more than the sum of its parts.
Although grind is a part of what Dionaea does, it certainly does not make them who they are. Throughout the thirty minute encounter, the listener is held captive to an array of declarations stated by none other than the trio’s musical prowess (see 2:45 and 4:30 of the track Carrier for a lesson in bass guitar artistry). Vocal parts remain sparse throughout, only appearing where the group felt it was absolutely necessary, and perhaps for the better. The message that the group conveys musically is undoubtedly what demands the attention. Skyward guitar melodies along with articulate, eloquent, and frequent surging drum rhythms break whatever limitations of the genres Dionaea have tacked on to themselves. Carrier also boasts an adventurous violin section at the final minute, as if to let the song’s motivating force venture on elsewhere long after it finishes. Interestingly enough, the final track enjoys the same feature, however in a more unifying and realistic sense, as the album ends on the same guitar melody that it began with. This adds to the notion that Still is not a mere dissertation in the practices of the group’s art, it is a new philosophy. Press repeat, and it becomes as everlasting as it needs to be.
While the creative instinct of the group has superseded the standards set by endeavours from similar music acts, it has left them in a place perhaps too poorly lit to continue any further. Originality brims forth from Still, yet it can leave the listener hoping for more, or worse yet, less. It will feel to some as though the near-fifteen minute epic “Same Story” could be separated into several gapless tracks. This is not to say the transitioning of the music is poor, but rather the attention span of the listener may not be equipped to handle the full duration of the song. In fact, the opening song contains some formidable transitions, flowing from blissful arrangements to chaotic slides and spasms in split-seconds. Even though the other two parts of the album each clock in at half the length of the first, they will present the same issue to anxious listeners. On the other hand, while only wanting more from the music may not particularly be a con to the album, it certainly will provide the group with the challenge of a noteworthy follow-up. This will in turn distinguish Dionaea from their counterparts.
So as the trio’s newest effort sees numerous moments of greatness, it also cuts out their work for the future. With any hope, Dionaea will have included those details within the complex yet inspiring ideology that is Still.