02.10.2016 D-München, Garage Deluxe (w/ Soul Secret)
26.11.2016 D-Oberhausen, Zentrum Altenberg (w/ Ashby)
27.05.2017 D-Schwetzingen, Prog the Castle-Festival
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|