DGM – Tragic Separation [Japan Edition +1] (2020)
”Tragic Separation” is the long awaited 10th album by Italian prog metal masters DGM out 09.10.20 via Frontiers Music, just released in Japan today with the usual bonus track.
The quintet began writing the music for it in the spring of 2019, with the year taken to complete the album a longer process than normal but necessary to achieve a desire to push themselves beyond any boundaries set by their previous work.
The end result ticks all the boxes of the Progressive Metal genre with augmented AOR melodies, while also adding their own unique stamp.
Since its foundation in 1994, DGM has solidified into a tight, intelligent-yet-ear-pleasing force deserving of much reckoning.
“Tragic Separation” should be among the band’s best – if not THE best – record, with a driven fury we were not expecting. Opening track “Flesh and Blood” is packed with proggy shred goodies, but the melodic chorus structure is enough to make it accessible. Guitarist Simone Mularoni is on of the stars on this album: he ever know how to fuse furious shred with tasteful melodic execution. His soaring notes, begun upon false pinch harmonics and bent into the creamy stratosphere are just exquisite.
Emanuele Casali’s keys not only drive the song, but offer exciting and contemporary counter-balance to Mularoni’s guitar parts. After Basile’s powerful vocals, and the overall instrumental excellence of the band, by the conclusion of the first track we are jaw-dropped.
The song is just… wow!
It’s always a risky move opening with such an overwhelming salvo, leaving the rest of the album feeling “less,” but DGM delivers a steady rising-and-falling action for the remainder of the record, with no single moment feeling like a disappointment.
The second track, “Surrender,” actually is fairly accessible, more like upbeat major key AOR melodic rock, but it’s a catchy and enjoyable song, so even though it’s a radical departure from the opening track, it’s just so goddamned good that the listener never really even notices. It’s some very smooth clutch-in and clutch-out shifting by the band.
The third song, “Fate,” walks the line nicely, fusing tight metal with melodic sensibilities with all the dexterity of ECLIPSE or ONE DESIRE.
The song “Hope,” while perhaps lacking some of the chops or hooks of its companions on the album, remains adequately strong and interesting to usher us forward on the album without feeling that “OK I am bored with this” urge to hit the skip button.
This is just as well, because our palate is nicely cleansed to receive the titular “Tragic Separation,” with lovely piano playing, and gorgeous violin from the land of Stradivarius. The song construction is just stunning. Bloody hell, we wouldn’t mind more writing like this on the most recent Dream Theater album. The guitars are literally music to the ears, and the chorus is like candy.
Just in case you get the munchies for some technical prowess again, “Stranded” has your back with a finger-lickin’ bucket of crunchy guitar tearing it up over top of a proficient rhythm section. The overall song construction is good, but damn, the slamming drums backing up some masterful guitar and keys in the middle make for a potent recipe.
In the interest of brevity, the final four tracks round things out nicely; “Land of Sorrow” with its driving beat and essential prog metal sensibilities, along with the not very “Silent,” and its tasteful heaviness balanced with melody. The driving melodic metal of “Turn Back Time,” and the final “Curtain,” from its delicate chords, ticking clock, and artsy ambience.
The Orchestral Version of ”Land of Sorrow” in this Japanese edition delivers a more emotional, smooth arrangement to the song, mor melodic, relaxed.
On “Tragic Separation” we expected a solid prog metal album, but we got all that and then some. It’s like the melodic happiness of much of the Frontiers catalog, combined with the instrumental and compositional fury of something like early Dream Theater.
It’s just solid from beginning to end, and a good time all around. The mix and production are great, the songwriting is superb, and the guitars and keys of Signori Mularoni and Casali are backed flawlessly by the bass of Andrea Arcangeli and the drums of Fabio Costantino.
Marco Basile delivers outstanding vocal performance from beginning to end, with his usual versatility and great metal timbre.
This is just a really great Euro prog melodic metal album, and we cannot recommend it more.
01 – Flesh and Blood
02 – Surrender
03 – Fate
04 – Hope
05 – Tragic Separation
06 – Stranded
07 – Land of Sorrow
08 – Silence
09 – Turn Back Time
10 – Curtain
JAPAN BONUS TRACK:
11 – Land of Sorrow (Orchestral Version)
Mark Basile – Vocals (ex-Mind Key)
Fabio Constantino – Drums (ex-Carnal Rapture)
Andrea Arcangeli – Bass
Simone Mularoni – Guitars
Emanuele Casali – Keyboards