Dante - When We Were Beautiful - Best Album of 2016?
Let's face it, it has not been the best start to the year, musically. There have been a number of releases, but none of them have really captured the imagination. My biggest disappointment of the year is undoubtedly Dream Theater's impression of Andrew Lloyd Webber, and this comes from a big Dream Theater fan. All that aside, you search through the deluge of new releases across all genres, hoping to find that jewel, that ray of light beckoning to you through the musical fog. Three months into the painstaking task in front of you, you begin to despair and question whether music is dead. News of its imminent demise, you will be relieved to hear, is greatly exaggerated. The release of When We Were Beautiful has enabled Dante to lift music's coffin from the ground and breathe life into the body of progressive metal and, to be quite honest, the corpse of music in general.
For those of you in need of an injection of progressive metal, Dante are the drug. The opening track, Rearrangement of the Gods, immediately grabs your attention. It twists and turns, one way then the other, causing you to second guess at the course the album will take. You can rest assured that it covers all the musical bases you could ever wish for. Thumping riffs, soaring melodies, gruff vocals, half-spoken vocals, musical proficiency and great songs, all are present together with a diversity that keeps every track fresh and alive. Compare the very prog metal opening track with the very bluesy track, Ambitious. It is reminiscent of Whitesnake with the riff and style, but it manages to add a distinct organ driven chorus that seems the complete opposite of the verse and feel it accompanies. These little additions of style and different genres serve to grab your attention and hook you in. Check out the electronic opening of Finally, before it evolves into an anthemic mix of guitar and wall of sound. There are one hour and three minutes of superb progressive rock on this album, consisting of seven tracks. Ignore the zombies and corpses that litter the sonic landscape and embrace the human and very much alive music that this album brings to the world.
When We Were Beautiful is easily the best release, so far, of 2016. Do not miss it!