The Passage


     If Dream Theater and Periphery had a baby together, that baby might just grow up to be Italian progressive metal band DGM. I had never heard of DGM prior to coming across their music while perusing the always-useful Spotify New Metal Tracks playlist, but I was so glad I did. Their latest album, “The Passage,” is set to be released on August 26. Some will complain of the band’s “djenty” sound, but I couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised with their prior work and newest offering. “Epic” is a word that gets thrown around far too often these days, but in “The Passage,” we have a record that is hard to adequately describe with any other adjective. Symphonic vocals, soaring guitar and keyboard solos, and an effective use of synth grace each song and result in an album that is surprisingly grand in scope.

    The music contained in “The Passage” is uplifting, melodic, and just downright fun. If you’re looking for an abrasive or harsh metal record, look elsewhere – this is some serious ear candy that’s sure to titillate even those who aren’t normally a fan of the genre. This is probably due in part to the ‘80s-inspired riffage and soloing we hear in most of the songs. Don’t get me wrong, DGM still bring the heavy – guitars are downtuned and churn out some serious chugs with the same kind of deep tone that has made bands like Periphery famous – but the heaviness is offset by plenty of melody.

    Before you tune out, know that the melody used by DGM isn’t just there for melody’s sake – solos are carefully placed and not overdone. But boy, are they excellent. Either these guys are using a ProTools-wielding robot hopped up on high-octane gasoline or they’ve got themselves a seriously proficient guitar player. (I’m assuming the later.) With so many great guitarists out there now, it’s hard to be surprised by a solo these days if you’ve been listening to heavy music for any considerable length of time. But as someone who considers myself a fan of metal to the point of obsession, even I was blown away by Simone Mularoni’s playing. I hope that dude’s got plenty of Red Bull and Band-Aids available for his live shows, because his solos are enough to exhaust and blister even the most committed virtuoso.

     Last but certainly not least is Mark Basile vocals – wow! After a few listens through “The Passage,” I was left wondering if the man is human. Or at least classically trained. Fans of power metal will appreciate his high, ambitious, and operatic style that he consistently brings out from track to track. A few different times while listening to the record I had to stop and ask myself, “Is he really still singing like that?” One would think the human vocal register can only do so much for so long. Apparently not. I would love to see Basile go solo and try some other genres on for size. Or maybe try out for “The Voice.” Because he’s got a killer one.

     The takeaway: if you like Periphery, Dream Theater, or a similar band, check out DGM. If you don’t like either of those bands, check out DGM. The guitar and vocals are just too great to pass up. For that reason, “The Passage” gets an easy 10/10 from me. Bravo.

Release date: 26-08-2016
Reviewer: Chase Lindley
Score: 10

Chase Lindley

This author is no longer associated with Metal On Loud Magazine.

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