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DGM - Life review


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Band: DGM
Album: Life
Release date: November 2023

01. Unravel The Sorrow
02. To The Core
03. The Calling
04. Second Chance
05. Find Your Way
06. Dominate
07. Eve
08. Journey To Nowhere
09. Leave All Behind
10. Neuromancer

This year, DGM bring a progressive power metal release to Life with the highest standards of musicianship.

The Italian progressive power metal group DGM formed almost thirty-years ago back in 1994, and throughout that time have plied their trade with a style that puts them in the same bracket as bands such as Symphony X, Evergrey, and Angra. However, DGM have unfortunately remained in the shadows of those great acts, and with a steadily growing discography of consistent quality material, it remains a mystery as to why that is. Well, now DGM return once more with a release simply titled Life; following the fairly impressive 2020 album Tragic Separation, what can we expect from this eleventh offering to date, I wonder?

The album's opening track, "Unravel The Sorrow", begins with a gentle building synth passage, led by a slightly eerie, twinkling keyboard melody delivered by Emanuele Casali. This light synth passage ultimately leads into a heavy galloping rhythm section, at which point the rhythm section of Fabio Constantino (drums) and Andrea Arcangeli (bass), along with Simone Mularoni's striking melodic guitar work, come into play. As the tempo subsequently ebbs and flows, and Mark Basile's passionately powerful vocals appear, the album begins to take its form. At just shy of 7 minute, this opener is the album's longest featured track, and is one that features all of what's to become; however, that's not to say the album loses its passion, energy, and sheer levels of excitement at any point from here on.

The following track, "To The Core", sustains the energetic and powerful vibe established in the opener, with the rhythm and tempo continuing to surge in the same galloping, melodic fashion, and the lead guitar work works in tandem with the impressive keyboard work to back up a striking anthemic chorus. The following track, "The Calling", continues in the manner, except with perhaps a more repetitively memorable riff melody, as well as an intriguing ending consisting to soft, classic piano. By this point, the modus operandi of DGM on Life has been firmly established.

Later on in the tracklist, the rhythmically and instrumentally complex "Find Your Way" delivers the most progressively-minded writing thus far, although DGM don't approach Dream Theater levels of complexity. Conversely, one of the standout tracks on the album for me, is actually its shortest track, an instrumental titled "Eve" that features the most melodic and catchy sections of the album due to some exceptional guitar work backed up by excellent synth parts. What's most striking is the 70s prog keyboard sounds and solos throughout this track, which give off something of a Rush vibe.

The last three songs offer more quality progressive power metal, with plenty of rhythm and tempo changes, heavy galloping melodic riffs, effective intrumental leads, and passionate vocals. The mighty closer "Neuromancer" is perhaps the pick of this bunch, as a gentle building synth intro leads into an impressive display of musicianship characterized by heavy riffs, great synth arrangements, and arguably the most impressive vocal performance on the album, before the song closes the album out with a soft outro similar in style to how the album all began.

Performance-wise, Life certainly matches the standards set previously by DGM and other progressive power metal heavyweights; for example, in comparison to Angra's latest effort Cycles Of Pain, one could say that Life exceeds it in terms of songwriting quality. With albums such as this, it remains a mystery to me as to why DGM remain so relatively unrecognized, but perhaps Life may be the album that finally takes their reputation to the next level.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Production: 8

Written on 03.12.2023 by Feel free to share your views.

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