DGM – The Passage | Album Review

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DGM released their 9th album The Passage in August 2016 via Frontiers Music Srl.  This band from Italy has their finger on the pulse of melodic progressive power metal.  I’ve given this new album a few listens and each time the album gets better and better as I am hearing things I didn’t hear the previous listen.

For those of you not familiar with DGM, they are not a new band.  These guys have been making music since the 90’s.  They started out as an all instrumental group and eventually added vocals to their sound. They released their first mini cd in 1997 and have kept making music since.  They’ve played all over Europe, Asia and have even performed in the USA 2 times that I am aware of at the ProgPower festival in Atlanta (2010 and 2014).  They’ve had a few changes to their lineup over the years.  The current lineup is:

Vocals: Mark Basile
Guitar: Simone Mularoni
Keyboard: Emanuele Casali
Bass: Andrea Arcangeli
Drums: Fabio Costantino

So let’s get to this cd, that is what this is about so it’s time to talk about the music of DGM.  What’s great about The Passage? Just about everything.  I grabbed a copy of the physical cd for this release, it got shipped all the way from Italy and dropped into my hands here in Seattle.  I’d heard a couple songs ahead of time and I couldn’t wait to get this cd playing!  The cd itself has a cool tri-fold cd sleeve with interesting artwork and has a booklet inside with lyrics and credits for making the album.  This 11 track album will catch your attention from the very beginning and keep you captivated to the very last note.  These artists are masters of their instruments and their sound.  This album has a beautifully blended sound and is worthy of being played anywhere.

So a simple overall breakdown of the music on the cd:

Guitars: fast, rhythmic, at times wailing, at times waining, an intermittent grinding sound, all while being hard and melodic.  Also, ample solo time with strong riffs and hooks for you guitar lovers out there.

Keyboard: Melodic, piano tunes, many manic runs, soothing yet wrenching.

Vocals: Harmonizing, powerful, rich, melodic and hypnotic and a mix of octaves throughout.  The vocals on this album are singable for those of us who tend to sing along to our cds.

Bass & drums: Strong, perfectly blended and in perfect control of the tempo.

Song by song breakdown:

The Secret (Part 1):  Starts with a few hypnotic piano keys that lead into a strong and powerful melody with a increasing tempo and heavy vocals.  This song is blended well between heavy power metal to melodic power metal.  Midway through you will get a long and enjoyable power solo between guitar and keys that builds with bass and drums.  This song and the next are (Part 2) the two longest songs on the album.

The Secret (Part 2): You won’t even notice the switch between Part 1 and Part 2, the change is so fast it’s not even really noticeable and the sound continues from Part 1.  Part 2 does slow the tempo down a bit with more of a trancing hypnotic tone.  Both parts of this song are big, dramatic and have that big arena sound to them.  This song solidifies that this album needs to be performed in giant venues to get the full affect of their sound.

Animal: An all around great melodic song.  Great tempo and great harmonizing vocals.

Ghosts of Insanity: This song switches up the sound with a heavier metal sound.  Guitars are more demanding from the beginning of the song, vocals have more depth that sound deeper and stronger.  Notable distinctive hook in this song, yet classic rock riffs in abundance.

Fallen: Another metal song here.  Instantly recognizable as metal.  Great sounding guitar in this song.  The lead into this song was to me reminiscent of early Metallica with Master of Puppets but just briefly yet enough to make me have to go listen to that song really quick because it had such a similar vibe.  That’s about all this song has in common with that tune.  The rest of the song is strong, heavy, melodic and the bass has a chance to stand out in this song.  Great track.

The Passage: The title track is a big, dramatic sounding song.  It’s got all the elements of melodic prog power metal.  It’s the first song I heard before ordering this album and I knew just from this song I had to have this album.  Strong vocals, great instrumentals, all around entertaining song.

Disguise: This is a piano ballad, yet a strong power vocal ballad that lets Basile show a different side to his vocals.

Portrait: As quickly as the last song was a simple yet powerful ballad this song the absolute opposite.  Fast, powerful, furious prog metal is what you will get with this song.  It does slow down at the chorus but then goes right back into a power metal song.  Quite the mix of sounds in this track, sounds that you haven’t heard in the other tracks on this album.

Daydreamer: Breaks out with some guitar funk in the rhythm, tempo goes from soothing to upbeat funk to power riffs.  Vocals match the song perfectly.

Dogma: Wastes no time heading straight into a fast metal tempo.  Vocals are deeper and have a rasp tone to them until the chorus where they blend into a melody.  This song, is tempo, tempo, tempo.  It will demand your attention.

In Sorrow: Slows the album down by starting out with a lead of an acoustic guitar and soft vocals that lead into an unexpected octave change that will let the listener feel the pain coming through the lyrics and the music.  Perfect ending to an amazing album by switching it up to something that was not expected through the course of the album.

I loved this album from start to finish.  It’s a solid album.  I would suggest music lovers get out there and get this album.  It’s available through the bands website directly and I have listed the links to other services where you can purchase it below.  Also, check them out on Facebook.  Brilliant work from DGM again!  Hope to see them on a USA tour at some point in the next year with an album like this one!

About Diane Webb 1321 Articles
I am music fanatic, writer, photographer and aspiring to play guitar/bass so I can write the music I hear in my head, plus play some of the sick riffs I hear on albums I listen to. I love travelling to see new places, meet new people, learn about local cultures and live with chronic wanderlust. Music, travel, good friends/family and enjoying life is key! I write for Global Music Mayhem, Rocknytt.net (Sweden) and HRH Magazine (UK). You can follow my photography on Instagram: @yesterdazenews Facebook: @DianeWebbPhotography.