Review by Rick Ossian
These three blokes from Denver have been assaulting our aural cavities for about 12 years or so now, including recording 2002’s Universal and 2007’s Ego. This, their 3rd full-length LP, is actually a double of gargantuan proportions! Dimension are David Quicho on vocals and guitar, Mane Cabrales on drums and Edgar Allan on bass. Their latest offering features bits of spoken word, violin(s), plenty of synths and piano, not to mention oodles of enviable guitar, drum and bass work. There are 13 tracks in all, if you include the bonus track (a cover of The Beatles‘ Eleanor Rigby). There is also a cover of Led Zeppelin‘s Immigrant Song that is faithful but a bit boring.
Epic-length tunes are the order of the day here it seems, with the two covers being the shortest of the bunch. We shall begin by tackling the first disc. First track up is The Source, which starts things out with a deceptive piano bit, then SLAM!, before you know what hit, there is, ironically enough, a super-heavy main guitar riff, but then a decidedly mellow sneaky vibe throughout. Things sort of kick in at the 1:30 mark, and there is lots of jamming going on, in particular a busy drummer (Mane) who has discovered the kick pedals to the double bass drums! Tricky time signatures abound here, as on several of the tracks. There is a jam with a guitar solo at about 3:30 in, and the return of the main riff at 4:20. The stop-start time phenomena occurs at the 5-minute mark, and there is a vocal climb at 5:30. A quick piano fade-out signals the end for now.
Pale Horse is a heavy-duty slammer from the outset, with swirling keys and bodacious guitar, bass and drum workouts. There is a jam at 3:30 and a long, shredding guitar solo at the 4-minute mark. They are still jamming at 5 minutes in, and indeed up to the end of the song (almost 7 minutes total!)
The Waltz of Death, which actually begins and ends with real waltz music, is an 8-minute-plus absolute behemoth, filled with choppy riffs, plenty of synths and other keys (a violin is thrown into the mix at one point but could easily have been emulated by a synth), as well as some classical music heaviness. At one point this writer was reminded of the mighty Symphony X. Some nice guitar work here, as well as angelic vocals and some very cool piano work. There is a jam which starts at about 3:15, then some guitar soloing up in the sky somewhere whilst David emulated Uli Jon Roth. At the four minute mark they appear to be trying to shift gears, but the transition never quite comes to fruition. It doesn’t turn over, so it works, but not as well as it could. At about the five-minute point, however, there is a successful shift that continues in a jam until the waltz-like fade-out. Quite a piece of work, then!
New Day starts life with some pretty cool guitar strumming, but it is much mellower than the lion’s share of the material here. We are suckered in at about 2:00 with a bluesy guitar solo and some stately keyboard work in the background. At 2:30 the proceedings turn decidedly Proggy again, and at the three-minute mark we return to the mellowness. At 3:30 we return to the main riff, then there is a synth fade-out with a brief guitar scratch to signal the close of this number.
Tears and Blood features some good kick drum work, but starts out with another keyboard intro which soon erupts into a wall of guitars. It is a bit reminiscent of the previous tracks, to be perfectly honest, but when you have this much music there is bound to be some repetition – right? Drums and keys are to the fore again, especially in the shape of the double-bass drum. Towards the close there is a guitar solo (about 4:30), which shreds everything in site and incurs a band jam that last until the end of the tune. Listen for the slam at about 7 minutes in…
Resistance begins with another heavy drum kick-off, and includes much of the same type of riffing and cliche vocals (‘never surrender’? How many times?) that we have heard before. Somehow it works, but we need to remember that variety is the spice of life, and we can only hear epic-length Prog workouts for so long; longer if they change things up a bit! I envisioned robots playing at one point – but I digress.
Welcome to America begins with a soundbite about ‘fighting the war on dangerous drugs‘. A war, incidentally, which has no doubt cost the U.S. of A. untold billions, and – guess what? We STILL have ‘dangerous drugs‘ on every street corner in EVERY large city, not to mention many of the smaller ones. Drums and guitar are the order of the day, in particular a double bass drum attack at about 4:00. This may be the shortest of the non-covers on board here (actually the 2nd shortest), but a decent jam nonetheless.
Disc 2 finds us revelling in the beauty of the first track, Angel. It features a bass drum/keyboard intro, a heavy main guitar riff that is just a monster, and some plaintive vocal and piano work during the brief not-so-heavy interludes. This is actually more pomp than prog, but it is still pretty good. At the three-minute mark we find a guitar solo, sort of a running build-up with the keyboards in tow. There is more soloing by guitar and keys to follow. This number gets heavier towards the close, and continues, very melodically, I might add, towards a main refrain fade-out at the close.
Human Device includes a disturbing bass solo intro, followed briefly by another prog SLAM! Again, the synth sounds as if it may have morphed into a violin, but stranger things have happened in the prog universe. At 3:20 there is some fine prog shredding, and then it’s over – another surprisingly short number!
The End of All Things, another gargantuan prog number (just shy of 9 minutes), is an exercise in keyboard and guitar duelling. There is plenty of soloing going on, and at one point things develop into a fine instrumental piece. The jam continues, even heavily in spots, until the end. However, if you thought this track was long, check out the next one!
War Dream is a 19-minute, 19-second exercise in patience and endurance. There are some very good sections, but there are also some very pedestrian bits. At some turns everything but the kitchen sink is included, even a few Zakk Wylde-style squeals here and there. It clearly takes up entirely too much time on the grand scale of things, and could quite possibly have been paired down to half of its size…All in all, this is a wonderful offering – just a bit long in the tooth!