DGM – Life (2023)

DGM - Life (2023)
Artist: DGM
Album: Life
Genre: Progressive Metal
Label: Frontiers Records
Year Of Release: 2023
Quality: FLAC (image+.cue)

Tracklist:
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

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Personnel:
– Marco Basile / vocals
– Simone Mularoni / guitars
– Emanuele Casali / keyboards
– Andrea Arcangeli / bass
– Fabio Costantino / drums

Ah, DGM, one of the most consistent bands to have come out of the 2000s prog-power scene. Unlike many of their peers, they didn’t spontaneously combust once the 2010s rolled around (looking at you, Pagan’s Mind, Circus Maximus) but kept on releasing high quality music. In fact, due to increased production values and polish of their compositions, I would argue that they became even better. Hence I was quite surprised to see them below our monthly listener cap of 20k on Spotify despite just releasing a new album, Life. Sucks for them, but for me it’s a blessing because I get to review their stuff.

To people already familiar with the band, they probably already know what this is going to sound like. To those who aren’t, let me explain you the DGM formula: open your song with a face melting riff, transition into a groovy rock riff for the verse, up the ante for a huge sing along chorus, repeat this two times, unleash some insane melodic shred in the bridge (and maybe a heartfelt verse or two in between), bring back the chorus and close the song with the intro riff. Repeat this 10 times in slightly different variations and you have yourself a DGM album. Sounds maybe not too exciting, but trust me, they make it work.

So, Life. Of course, it’s more of the same, but unlike on Tragic Separation, they’ve given the formula a new dressing and largely stopped reusing riffs from previous albums. The riffs are chunkier, the bass is more prominent, and a couple of other fresh ideas rear their heads. Take “The Calling” for example. It heavily takes after modern Evergrey with its darker, hefty riffs, lead bass in its smooth, soulful verses, and a solemn piano outro. Naturally, its chorus has the trademark DGM soaring melodies and its bridge has an insane guitar solo, but the novel elements make them stand out more. “Second Chance” further embraces those heavier riffs, even introducing the pick scrape in the bridge. “Eve” also stands out as an instrumental song, which I don’t think they’ve done before.

But let’s not kid ourselves, it’s still a DGM album at the end of the day, for better or worse. “To the Core” is probably the most DGM song to have ever DGM’d, built on their trademark killer riffing style, commanding vocal presence of Mark Basile, and a proggy bridge in which guitars and keys go on a shred tradeoff amidst odd time wizardry. About half the songs follow the classic formula, and for those that experiment more plenty of familiar elements remain. And that’s the beauty of this band. DGM is just fantastic at their craft, pulling off jaw-dropping musicianship and stuffing multiple memorable hooks in each song. I could highlight almost any riff, solo, or vocal hooks these guys come up with, but some that stood out to me in particular were the extended journey of a guitar solo in “Second Chance,” the crunchy riffage in “Dominate,” the chorus of “Leave All Behind,” or the breathy verses in closer “Neuromancer.”

I have little else to say at this point. With Life, DGM have delivered another great album that’s a clear step up from Tragic Separation. Now, it probably won’t convince anyone who wasn’t already convinced of their quality, but for the fans of the band the little flourishes on the formula make this a winner. I’ll be keeping this in rotation for quite some time.
Review by Sam

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