Recording the very first concert in Poland? And then follow that up by releasing the result as the very first DVD of the band? Who comes up with ideas like that? Well, it seems like enormously clever people come up with ideas like that, because at second glance the decision makes perfect sense: Poland has already been excellent terrain for progressive music for quite a while. Consequently it does not come as a surprise at all to find that Bavaria-based Dante have provoked nothing but sheer enthusiasm amongst the Polish! But only giving people a glance at the works of the band does not do for Dante… not enough… why not record the Augsburg show of the tour, too? Done!
The set list of Katowice did not only include songs of the latest record “When We Were Beautiful” but also comprised classics from the group’s ten-year history like “Vanessa” and “November Red.” The Augsburg show fills the contextual gaps that the temporal confines of a concert ripped in the first recording: material that could not be fit in the concert at Katowice was simply played in Augsburg. That is why the tragic death of founding-member Markus Berger in the year 2013 is not only a constant and spiritually important factor within the concept of Dante. Through the inclusion of his compositions Berger is really always at the heart of the show. That is the constellation that leads the way to emotionally charged performances like the ones that managed to entice the audiences of Katowice and Augsburg into the stream of energy, emotion, precision and artistic intelligent that can be experienced firsthand on “Where Life Was Beautiful.”
The DVD at hand displays a collective of musicians at the height of its powers. The seemingly idiosyncratic aspects – since Berger’s death the band has performed concerts without a bass player – are in this case not impediments but manifest additional impulses that drive the experience that is “Dante” further ahead. Actually the special gems of the approach are what pushes the performances into a different dimension – in a beautifully organic way.
“Where Life Was Beautiful” shows two concerts of a band that is rapidly progressing into the future – without neglecting its roots. That mixture can be seen in the big picture of the song selection of the two recorded shows. In that way the basic concept “DVD” as a fascinating momentary snapshot is turned into a lasting monument of the accumulated works of a group of artists who are only just beginning to realize the true extent of their electrifying energy. Releasing two concerts at a time turns out to be a genius move: one can hardly experience a band in a more three-dimensional way.
|Veröffentlicht||28 April 2017|
|Label||Gentle Art Of Music|
DVD & CD1: „Live In Katowice“
1. Rearrangement O fThe Gods
2. Beautiful Again
4. The Lone And Level Sands
5. Until TheLast Light Breaks In
6. November Red
CD2: „When We Were Beautiful – Live“
1. Rearrangement Of The Gods
3. Beautiful Again
4. Until The Last Light Breaks In
5. Let Me Down
The alchemists of Prog
It is supposed to be sophisticated music for sophisticated listeners. But it should not only be challenging, it also needs to thrilling. And of course it is imperative for the audience to be entertained by it! What may initially seem like a wish list, really describes Dante’s new record When We Were Beautiful: how does one compose something special of mere sounds and words? How can regular metal be turned into pure gold? The prog-alchemists have found the answer to that question: the new album is not only metal. It is precious metal.
As mentioned, it is not exactly an uncommon wish, wanting to satisfy not only the desires of the good feeling but also those of the brain, while making it possible for the listener to bring their dancing shoes, too. Accomplishing just that is, though. That is what makes it all the more impressive that with When We Were Beautiful the quartet presents an album that does not only live up to but exceed those high expectations and additionally delivers a degree of depth that is not exclusively founded in the musical virtuosity of the artists or their elaborate songwriting. Really, the record’s core topic of transience has its foundations in a very real background fact that gives the songs an almost palpable emotionality.
In fact, after severe illness, by only a few days founding member Markus Berger did not have the good fortune of getting to experience the release of the band’s last record November Red. That is how death did not only inevitably become a topic of When We Were Beautiful. Ultimately it also ended up being the driving force of the creative process that is expressed in songs like Finally, in which the band bids farewell to their friend in a harrowingly beautiful way. These are songs of golden splendor and metal heaviness.
But that is only one part of the story because Augsburg’s Dante do by no means beat around the bush: they want it all. The music needs to be good and melodic, the lyrics have to live up to the highest standards and the sweaty intensity of the band’s euphorically reviewed live shows always has to be a fundamental element of any new Dante album. “We want to go as far as possible in every way imaginable,” the band unequivocally states. This radically courageous approach of artistry can be heard in every single delicate note.
And yet Dante are refreshingly honest in how they perceive themselves: “We know exactly that we fit the musical blueprint of the genre,” the Bavarians say about their music. That is a view that can be called an understatement – at the very least. Because even though bands like Savatage or Dream Theater certainly are influences and the tradition of greats like Deep Purple, Machine Head and Metallica have clearly made their way into the music, the four-piece from Augsburg has managed to use well-established elements and turn them into something fresh and almost magical that transcends the ordinary: just as alchemists would have done, Dante turn prog metal into precious metal. This album offers tons of artistic enthusiasm, loads of surprises, intellectual challenges and an almost endless potential for enjoyment.
Alexander Göhs (vocals), Markus Maichel (keyboards), Christian Eichlinger (drums) and guitarist Julian Kellner have accepted the challenge and tried to create something that cannot be achieved by mere talent and hard work alone. The result is an almost daringly powerful, emotional and artistic triumphant seven song tour-de-force, the radiant power of which can only be created by extraordinary personalities with a true vision. Just as stated earlier: Dante really are the alchemists of prog.
There is only one thing that When We Were Beautiful does not deliver: actual gold. But this silver disc compensates for that beyond the wildest expectations.
|Label||Gentle Art Of Music|