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Dementia – Dreaming In Monochrome Award winner

Dementia
Dreaming In Monochrome
by Michael Humphrey at 28 October 2016, 3:26 PM

DEMENTIA are a German Progressive Metal band that have been active since 1993. The band draws upon a wide range of influences making DEMENTIA something quite unique. With a predominantly Melodic Death Metal style providing a steady and accessible foundation for their sound, they then build upon it with a 70’s Prog Rock/Pop vibe to create a stark contrast and a truly captivating experience. “Dreaming in Monochrome” is the bands sixth studio release since 1995.

Their niche sound becomes apparent in “Darkness Rising,” which opens the album with dark Doom riffs before quickening into a faster melodic style; with organs supporting the guitars and adding lots of extra flavour to the song. The song goes through several dynamic phases, each instrument flowing alongside the others and shining through the mix at various stages. About halfway through the song, the heavier Death Metal elements give way to a more mellow and atmospheric soundscape, which introduces the bands Prog influences and features multiple solos from guitars and bass.

“Ghosts” continues this contrast in sound, however in a more regular manner; swaying between heavy verses with distorted chugging rhythms and growling vocals, and more folksy choruses with layered clean vocals. This pattern breaks at the 3:40 mark with the song swinging into a frenetic pace, driven by fast paced melodies performed by both guitars and organs. The pattern soon makes a return however, with the heavy and folk elements revisited yet rearranged, bridging the gap between the clean and guttural vocals to present an interweaving duet and a highlight of the song.

 “Abyssal Fall” takes a more Blackened approach with fast paced melodies and energetic rhythmic progressions. The song does not feature any segments of 70’s Prog as the other songs do, but instead uses keys to add a more interesting melodic element to some areas of the song and the clean vocals in heavy choruses to support the Black Metal tone. As the only song on the album under eight minutes long “Abyssal Fall” still features enough dynamic character and Prog influence to make it an excellent experience despite it’s heavier take on the bands style.

“Monologue” tones down the Extreme Metal elements and begins with a rich emotive atmosphere, melodic guitar arpeggios flowing in and out of the mix, with the keys, bass, and drums providing a mellow soothing backdrop to the clean vocals, which take centre stage. The song’s softer nature is broken by short heavier passages however, breaking it up into more manageable segments and further highlighting the dynamic range that the band employs before fading out with a tense passage of whispers.

“Dreaming in Monochrome” closes the album on an epic note with a strings section introducing a more grandiose approach than that of the other songs on the album. The song regularly goes through stylistic changes, starting with a lively "Melodeath" approach which then gives way to an undoubtedly "Proggier" section, complete with an angelic choir, dreamy soundscapes and vocal performances, along with vintage bass and guitar solos. When the heavy attitude makes a return it does so upon a melodic Progressive foundation, reminiscent of both early Prog Rock and 90’s Technical Metal. The Progressive styles don’t stop there though, with a variety of elements and styles taking turns to come to the forefront, seemingly from a wide variety of different time periods, as if detailing the entire history of Progressive Metal in one take on the genre. “Dreaming in Monochrome”, for me, is the highlight of the album, and is a stunning display of musicianship and a fitting way to close the curtains on what can only be described as a spectacular album.

I cannot help but feel that what DEMENTIA have displayed in this single album, most artists could not hope to achieve in a lifetime within music; in both the quantity of dynamic elements and quality of their performance. “Dreaming in Monochrome” is a truly spectacular experience with a dynamic style that surely puts all others to shame.

Songwriting: 10
Originality: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Darkness Rising
  2. Ghosts
  3. Abyssal Fall
  4. Monologue
  5. Dreaming In Monochrome
Lineup:
Stephan Nowotny – Guttural Vocals
Jörg Rupp – Guitar, Clean Vocals
Martin Müller – Guitar
Andrea Orendi – Keyboards
Tobias Christ – Bass, Clean Vocals
Gerry Mayerhofer - Drums
Record Label: MDD Records
     


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