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Dismal - Quinta Essentia

Quinta Essentia
by Kevin Lewis at 16 November 2020, 10:46 PM

DISMAL is an Italian Gothic Metal band, formed in 1995, that has a flair for the dramatic and a penchant for including a multitude of additional elements like Industrial, Symphonic, Folk, Doom and Progressive textures. "Quinta Essentia" is their sixth full-length offering and their first in seven years. Released November 13, 2020 through Dreamcell 11 Records, it is a sonic experience that cannot be properly appreciated in one playthrough. There are many layers and tones that have to be heard multiple times to be truly appreciated.

Beginning with “Gold Leviathan (Part I, II)” this is an ethereal record with an incredible number of dissonant elements. With sampled sound effects and varying tempos, this is a song that cannot be thrust into a single category. And this is just the start. The primary vocals are female and clean, though Rossana Landi can soar into the clouds or drop into the valleys. She has an incredibly wide range. The male portions are more spoken than sung.

Next comes the epic, 11 minute “Turin Black Light (Act I, II, III)”. With a darker, doom laden tone, this is a song that features piano and strings heavily and has layered vocals. The slow, methodic pace of the first portion of the song is almost trance-like in its; ability to draw you in. The sonic dissonance is very present in this song. Quick shift in the focal instrument, whether that be piano, synth or guitar really alter the tone and texture of the composition. The interesting part of this song is the discussion of philosophy and language.

“Alma Mater (Alchimia Della Natura)” begin with the singer speaking in Italian and some ambient string/keyboard tones. Then the guitars dive in heavy and thick. The vocals shift to singing rather than speaking. Then the piano takes over the lead role. These songs take you on a journey. Swaying back and forth between the Gothic doom and the ambient, folksy tones, there are a wide array of things to hear and feel on this record.

“Mind & Randomness” features dialogue in English early and Italian later. “Beyond The Matter” features with Mongolian throat singing and a very Middle Eastern sounding tone to the female vocals. “The Big Bang Is My Light” and “Pale Blue Dot” continue the constant back and forth with the spoken and sung lyrics, ambient and heavy tones, Italian and English languages.

This is not an album that can be understood and appreciated by a casual listener. This is a record to be studied and dissected. It is a tale. It is a journey. It is a story. There is no way to truly grasp the entire concept of this record without hearing it multiple times, back-to-back. Once you have that, it can be enjoyed for its’ individual pieces, but first you need to know what the whole is. The whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  7
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

1. Gold Leviathan Part I, II
2. Turin Black Light Act I, II, III
3. Alma Mater (Alchimia Della Natura)
4. Mind & Randomness
5. Hermes The Thrice-Greatest
6. Beyond The Matter
7. The Big Bang Is My Light
8. Pale Blue Dot
9. Leviathan of Gold Part III Become
10. The Big Bang Is My Light (Vinyl Bonus, Instrumental)
Rossana Landi – Vocals/Double Bass
Bradac – Piano/Synth/Orchestration/Percussion
Lautaro Acosta – Violin
Daniel Porfido – 8 String Guitar/Classic Guitar
Record Label: Dreamcell 11 Entertainment


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