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Band: Dante

CD Title: “Saturnine”

Band Website: www.danteband.de

Label: ProgRock Records

Label Website: www.progrockrecords.com

Release Date: 2010

 

Formed in 2006 this is the second release for Dante and its entitled Saturnine. The band came together with a chance encounter by the guitarist and keyboardist at a Dream Theater concert. The two of them Marjus Berger (guitar) and Markus Maichel (keyboards) made good on their dream by adding Alexander Göhs (vocals), Dennis Neumeier (bass) and Christian Eichlinger (drums) and creating a band that was clearly in the progressive rock mould and yet retained a decidedly aggressive edge. The music on Saturnine clearly has lots of crunch, but it also is heavily orchestrated with lush symphonics.

 

Now if you are thinking the Dream Theater connection will have some bearing on Dante’s musical approach well you would be partially correct. As I already pointed out there is a decidedly aggressive edge that runs through these seven compositions, but that aggressiveness is more than balanced by the many softer, orchestrated segments. You get that feel with the very first track “All My Life” [12:14] which launches with a fair bit of crunchy guitar riffs, but then everything subsides as the vocals come in overtop of lush strings and keyboards. This sets up a haunting up-tempo return of the guitars at about the four-minute mark. Then as before the band pull it back a bit and slow it down as the vocals return. And so it goes. The music is constantly going up and down, fast and slow, aggressive riffing, warm orchestrations and so on. As one might expect this is on grand display on the CD’s 5-part epic closer “Vanessa” [19:00]. It starts off with a series of heavy crescendos before getting into a segment with acoustic guitars overtop of keyboard string and flute sounds. The heavy guitar comes back to drive the melody home. Then at the 2:25 mark the vocals arrive overtop of solo piano and bass creating a very somber tone. The tune takes a very major shift at the 6:49 mark and continues to morph through a variety of moods and atmospheres. Dante manage to throw the proverbial “kitchen sink” at the tune and yet it comes out sounding melodic and appealing.

 

Dante’s compositional style is busy at times, melodic at others, fast and heavy and slow and moody. This is music that will certainly appeal to prog metal fans as well as those who enjoy the heavier side of symphonic prog. If that’s you my guess is Dante’s Saturnine will find a welcome spot on your CD shelf.

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