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Dimension X: So ... This Is Earth

The five insanely talented members of Milwaukee's latest progressive-music export claim Dimension X is not a metal band, despite the presence of metallic-edged songs like "Why" and "Train Wreck" on the band's debut, So This Is Earth. But listen deeper and more intently, and you'll hear in David Hoover's voice subtle references to a younger Peter Gabriel and even Gentle Giant's Derek Shulman. You'll hear keyboardist Jeff Konkol's classically influenced symphonic crescendos and decrescendos. And you'll hear the 17-minute whopper called are you ready for this? "Xeno's Paradox," which is full of time-signature switches, delicate and patient musical phrasing, discomforting spoken-word passages and ethereal lyrics. No, my friends Dimension X goes well beyond metal

Like the similarly named Symphony X, this quintet makes music that's heavy, complex, rhythmic, melodic and technical and that refuses to stay in one place for too long. Dimension X takes influences from artists as disparate as Gershwin and Tchaikovsky, King Crimson and early Genesis, and Tool, Rush and Dream Theater. With Hoover's voice deliberately low in the mix, his booming baritone becomes a fifth instrument, although no one player dominates. The result is a record that sounds so complete that it's hard to believe that So This Is Earth is a debut album. Truth be told, Dimension X has been around in one form or another with different names and different players since the mid-Eighties, when it aspired to be a Queensryche knockoff. But it wasn't until Quebec's Unicorn Digital stepped up and offered the current incarnation of Dimension X a deal that a full-length album became possible. The band pledges allegiance to intelligent, introspective lyrics and otherworldly themes, and even takes its name from an old NBC sci-fi radio show. (So This Is Earth's album art was unearthed from the cover of an ancient sci-fi novel, too.)

All eight songs here (save "Xeno's Paradox") clock in at less than seven minutes, and by keeping the entire album under 52 minutes, Dimension X doesn't wear out its welcome. In fact, So This Is Earth may just leave you asking, "So is there more?"

Track Listing
1- Why (6:02)
2- Open Letter (3:37)
3- Corporate Ladder (5:16)
4- Introspection (1:37)
5- Train Wreck (5:48)
6- Xeno's Paradox (16:51)
7- Intrigue (6:06)
8- Nothing's Change (6:43)

Added: November 30th 2006
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Unicorn Digital
Hits: 2368
Language: english

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Dimension X: So ... This Is Earth
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-11-30 23:27:06
My Score:

Let's state, right off the bat, that So ... This Is Earth is a prog-metal record worth owning. Having said that, though, getting into the record will take multiple spins and a lot of patience because of the production quality - which is murky, and hides the gems that make this a worthwhile acquisition.

There are plenty of nods to the progressive metal greats - like Dream Theater, Shadow Gallery and Fates Warning, and like those bands, Dimension X is another Euro-styled ProgPower act that gets more respect overseas than they do at home, in the USA. They have all the qualities of the best of their breed - imaginative songwriting, good musicianship, and strong cohesion. Having been around - in one form or another - for almost 2 decades, these artists draw on a great depth of experience. So although this is the band's debut release, you'll be rewarded with the kind of quality you'd expect from seasoned recording artists.

The 8 songs average around 7 minutes a piece, with "Xeno's Paradox" being a 17-minute epic that starts slowly, with a classically oriented piano line, and builds in complexity and intensity with the bass developing a groove, introducing a fluid guitar solo that must rank as one of the longest in the genre. The tempo changes are subtle - until you're about 10 minutes in - when there's a series of dramatic shifts with vocal references back to the original theme, and a song structure that just won't sit still. Although there are clear references to Dream Theater in some passages, it has a mellower, more approachable tone. Pity about the mid-song Grobschnitt-like german-language voiceovers - they don't work, but fortunately they're brief. The next best song on the record is "Corporate Ladder" with pleasing, unconventional riffs, powerful bass and lead guitar work and strongly melodic vocal lines. The occasional classically oriented piano lines add a rich texture to the piece, and you might wish they appeared more often. David Hoover's vocal timbre may have limited appeal, but the songwriting has clearly been moulded around his relaxed delivery.

So ... This Is Earth is a powerful debut - and if they could address their production, these guys might quickly be elevated to the leagues of similarly-named Symphony X, or those excellent European

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