I think Salvador Dali would be proud if he heard Dali's Dilemma. This band, just like Salvador Dali, creates art without limits. They are very expressive and constantly explore new ground. Needless to say it's a fitting name, since Dali, despite being a very good surrealist painter, had a cult following. And as Dali's Dilemma is a prog band, no matter how good and experimental they are, they will never appeal to the masses becoming a part of popular culture. And they don't have to. It's best to let those who can appreciate art beauty be exposed to this CD.
Manifesto for Futurism is their only album and an excellent one at that. I don't care about the never-ending Dream Theater comparisons; I've heard so many DT-influenced bands over the years that I feel, even if the guys in Dali's Dilemma were influenced by them, at least they managed to pull it off successfully. The worst thing you could do to a piece of art is writing it off or degrading it by naming it a rip-off, Manifesto for Futurism is so much more than that. Like many of their contemporaries they do have their influences, but it is my opinion that they have managed to blend them all seamlessly and the final outcome is the current sound of Dali's Dilemma. Furthermore not many bands come out with such strong debut albums. I feel ashamed that it took me so long to check this album out, for I feel I've missed out--a lot.
Additionally, Dream Theater is just one of the many bands that has had some impact on these talented guys. I hear a good dose of Rush, some Deep Purple and Rainbow, Yngwie Malmsteen, Pink Floyd, and even U2. It's no wonder that they played on tribute albums of two of these bands (Rush, Pink Floyd). Some old Queensryche and Fates Warning also seems to have been buried in their compositions. How can a band with such amazing influences disappoint when they each member is also technically advanced? So Manifesto for Futurism doesn't let the listener down. On the contrary it's an album that asks you to play it over and over again, cause there's something about their songs that simply demand your attention.
Drummer Jeremy Colson has fast wrists and his rolls are produced excellently, besides his neat tone, his rolls pan from left to right on the speakers, so it's a great feeling when you listen to the album with headphones. More than half of the songs kick off with his sometimes fiery and sometimes laid back drumming and they're quite central to the music. Another unusual quality is Steve Reyes' bass work. While America has always produced the best bassists, unfortunately most of the bass in prog music has usually been mixed too low (John Myung anyone?), but Reyes doesn't conform. I don't know if that's because he's a founding member or because he too realised it was about time to bring more life to the rhythm of the music. The singer has got to be one of the most underrated singers in this genre. It's hard to place the roots of his voice; all I can say is he contains a lot of passion and character. His Bono-esque vocal delivery in "Hills of Memory" is simply awesome. The keyboardist generally displays a minimalist approach but he knows when to give the song what they need. He has a slightly more updated sound than most other American keyboardists; he layers the sounds perfectly behind the music and keeps up very well with the rhythm section. His short instrumental ("Whispers") shows he isn't interested in showing off, but communicating with the listener on a deeper level. Guitarist Patrick Reyes has a tone quite reminiscent to John Petrucci's but stylistically he also does some Malmsteen-like sweeps and Morse-like picking. The fact that no matter what he retains his classic hard rock roots gives him a vibe all his own.
I've had this album for less than a week so I never had the chance to give much thought to their lyrics, but I do think they sound very cerebral and full of depth. I've barely scratched the surface of the iceberg so I know I'll give this CD many more spins to get more of it. By the way "Miracles of Yesteryear" is my personal favourite, but I don't think there's a single song here I would skip. Those who aren't into prog music may think that Dali's Dilemma sounds like every other band out there, those who can see beyond it are no doubt going to appreciate this band's endeavours. I know I do. Lemur Voice, Sun Caged, Vanden Plas, and Divided Multitude are also recommended for this kind of prog music.
- Within a Stare
- Miracles in Yesteryear
- Despite the Waves
- Ashen Days
- Andromeda Sunrise
- This Time Around
- Hills of Memory
- Can't You See
- Living in Fear