I really am not a fan of progressive metal. Not at all. It mostly bores me and makes me want to go take a nap. For some reason, though, this year keeps throwing some really good prog releases at me that I actually enjoy. Admittedly, they ARE few and far between, but I just keep getting lucky and striking gold. That said, let’s take a look at the new album from Italy’s DGM, The Passage, available August 26 on Frontiers Music.
I was a huge fan of the big full sound of their last two outings, 2009’s Frame and 2013’s Momentum, so I went in to this disc with certain expectations, and I was not disappointed. The Passage continues that glorious lineage and does a fantastic job of delivering a great musical experience. Simone Mularoni’s guitar work is slick and very polished, and the interplay with the keyboards of Emanuele Casali borders on genius much of the time. Andrea Arcangeli (bass), while not flashy, is solid, as is Fabio Costantino’s drumming.
The real standout for me on this release are the vocals of Marco Basile. I’m a sucker for a good vocal hook, and Marco absolutely crushes it – there are zero low points to his performance on this album. A lot of great Italian metal singers have that rich, full range and tone, but Marco remains my favorite among his peers, without question.
There are a couple of guests to round things out as well. Tom Englund (EVERGREY) makes an appearance with some excellent vocals on “Ghosts of Insanity”, and SYMPHONY X’S Michael Romeo contributes lead guitar on “Dogma”. While I enjoyed Englund’s singing, I didn’t really get into Romeo’s guitar work – it just didn’t really seem to fit in that well with the rest of the album, and I’m normally a huge fanboy of his work, so that was a little disappointing.
The album has a smooth, polished sound, and it’s always bright and clear, thanks to Simone Mularoni’s work in the production booth. It sounds absolutely amazing and it’s a solid example of all of the right ways to produce a release.
To sum: I mostly still don’t like prog, but DGM’S The Passage is a beautiful album and is one of those rare gems that drags me a little bit toward the dark side of weird time signatures and lofty concepts. Whether you’re a fan of progressive metal, power metal, or even older prog rock, this is one release that you really need to pick up as soon as possible.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM