Last year we became acquainted with the Dutch indie record label Layered Reality Productions and their diverse group of progressive, symphonic and avant-garde metal. Actually, these guys refer to themselves as a collective that’s primarily here to serve the artists, much more than a business that hopes to strike it rich if one of their bands takes off. My first reaction, as a discerning and pretty well-versed listener in the genre was pretty much – “who the fuck are these guys???” Seriously, you’d have thought I’d have at least heard of one of the bands. But no – Mind:Soul? Adeia? Dimaeon? Nope, none of ‘em. Well let me tell ya, there is some good, really good, fantastically good stuff going on with these (mostly) Dutch bands and it was a total no-brainer to put the doom-laden, early 70’s dark-hued prog rock drenched wonderfulness of Dimaeon’s late 2013 album, Collapse Of The Anthropocene on our year-end top 50 album list for 2013 (link HERE). At over one hour and 11 minutes this is one hell of an album – at times dark and eerie, often brutal and yet other times extremely melodic, powerful and uplifting.
The Anthropocene, for those who haven’t heard the term, refers to the geological era we’re now in that was produced by humans and, as many believe, is rapidly leading to a massive environmental collapse – hence the name of the album. Whether you believe in that or not, the music here is well worth your time, especially if you at all like bands that combine a large variety of styles and moods. Taking inspiration from similar, much more well-known bands like The Ocean, Between The Buried and Me as well as the atmospherics of the legendary Pink Floyd as well as the great use of acoustic guitars à la early Genesis, Dimaeon’s album begins with the dramatic brutality of The Blood Of Millions, a song that starts out quiet and contemplatively but quickly descends into utter dark heaviness and is a great way to let you know what this band’s all about. Immediately Dimaeon switches gears with Dark Century, a song that, despite the title actually has some excellent softer acoustic and jazzy melodic sections before finishing in an very dramatic ending.
Subterraenous is an intense and hard-driving death metal song punctuated by some great intricate guitar bursts. Both The Ruins of Mankind and Cascade are further exercises in brutality but both have their beautiful elements for contrast – the gorgeous melodic ending of Ruins as well as the softer, eerie mid-section in the middle of Cascade. For me however the band really shines on the two longest songs on the album, the 11-minute Glass Mountain and the almost 16 minutes of the album title track. Glass Mountain starts out with a gorgeous beginning of searing guitars over some softer acoustics and weaves in an out between dark heaviness and softness before finishing, so unexpectedly (and brilliantly) with a piercing high-pitched hum over a very modern and stark piano. The title track is even better and reminds me a lot of Opeth’s seminal Blackwater Park. The beginning of the song weaves in a ton of great, eerie acoustic guitars and even some Mellotron (!), utter brutality and a wonderful melodic mid-section before dissolving quietly. No one element of the song feels superfluous and it flows together so well you barely notice how long it is. I guess if our society is about to collapse, I’d love to have this be our soundtrack!
Dimaeon could be poised for greatness with an album as good as this one. Their effortless mixture of so many styles into a cohesive whole along with some absolutely stellar musicianship, especially from guitarists Rembert Breidenbach, Sybren Boonstra and highly versatile drummer Danny Boonstra is just excellent and I’m really glad I got to be exposed to this amazing and very unique band. You can hear the full album via the Spotify playlist below and you can purchase a copy via the Amazon.com link, also below.
Review by Jeff Stevens
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