Thursday, 11 February 2010

Diminished 7 - Dim World (2009) 68/100.

The one word that keeps cropping up in the back of my mind each and every time I listen to Diminished 7’s self-released debut, entitled ‘Dim World’, is “inoffensive”. I don’t know much background information about the bands only member, Alex Crescioni, but I do know he has had some experience of playing in technical death metal bands, so this giant leap to gothic rock/metal was a huge one to make. However, though I initially had some doubts as to whether he could function as a gothic musician, everything from his appearance to the general content of ‘Dim World’ makes me believe he is able to make the transition smoothly and without too many problems. A part of me feels that bands like this are tailored especially to fit into the mainstream market of metal, or rock music. ‘Dim World’, though it does contain a few attributes that could be associated to more extreme genres of metal like death, or even doom, is a record that is highly accessible to newcomers to the metal industry and could even suit factions of the music industries audience who normally disregard metal entirely.

From the occasionally cheesy lyrics, to the cries of “love metal” from certain areas of the adoring fan base, Alex Crescioni is, potentially, on to a winner here as far as the obsessive teenage market goes. However, if he is looking towards building a successful reputation in any other age group above the youthful and inexperienced age of 19 then he has some work to do before this act will suppress the doubters, including myself. As I said at the beginning of the review, ‘Dim World’ is largely inoffensive to the open minded listener. It has its quirks that make it unique, a number of surprises along the way and a few personality traits which even make it enjoyable. At times, one could even liken the appeal to bands such as Anathema in the latter stages of their career as they began to develop slowly into a bleak rock outfit. The clean vocals and sharp melodies keep me attentive and due to the lack of penetrative distortion, the atmosphere reminds rather soothing, especially when the keyboards are taken into consideration as they offer a smooth texture to the soundscapes.

A unique eeriness is drawn into the atmosphere through the use of the keyboards, an element which remains rather isolated in its approach, specifically on songs like ‘Your Warmth From A Candle’ - a song which draws out the unnerving feeling that the lyrics are overly romanticised and that Alex has based this record on his past experiences with some very neurotic women. I cannot help but feel, when taking the lyrics of songs such as ‘She Lost Her Heart In Hollywood’, that the record is intentionally inoffensive in order to appeal to the current generation of youngsters who’re going crazy over all things gothic - such as the Twilight phenomenon that is sweeping the globe at this point in time. There is a marketable quality to this band and I feel, with decent enough exposure to the mainstream followers of metal, that a significant portion of today’s shallow, female based section of fans could go mental over something like this, especially with a typically handsome young gentlemen leading the way with his emotively charged voice and mysterious appearance. Just listen to those lyrics carefully for the aforementioned song ‘She Lost Her Heart In Hollywood’ (as they’re seemingly not provided publicly by the bands creator himself);

“Baby don’t cry, I know you lost your heart in Hollywood tonight.”

This is repeated over and over for affect and any metal band that uses the word “baby” in all seriousness cannot be taken seriously, in my eyes. I like to look at bands from all genres and sub-genres with an open mind, but there is a pop factor (especially to the way in which he chooses to sing certain notes of the choruses in his songs) to a number of the songs which causes alarm bells to ring in the back of my mind. However, before the dread can set in, to his credit, Alex uses a number of infectious melodies to sweep me off my feet as if I’m the damsel in distress. As I mentioned before, ‘Dim World’ does have a few surprises up its sleeve, including in the cheesiest songs on the record. For example, he varies his vocal approach from time to time, even using death metal styled growls, which fit surprisingly easily into the angst ridden aspect of the record and not only this, but there seems to be a doomish quality to some of the guitar work present here, with deep, repetitious riffs spinning off of the light hearted gothic melodies, as shown sparsely during songs like ‘Sleep In Shadows’.

‘Dim World’ is, to me, very much catered to the younger generations of metal, or the romantic, starry eyed audiences who believe in love at first sight. The harmless material is produced very well and to his credit, once again, Alex has done a terrific job in regards to the production, which is clean and gives all elements of the instrumentation fantastic audible qualities. He also has the vision to integrate different spectrums of metal together, forcing the mainstream and obscure worlds of this record to collide and compliment each other in juxtaposition. The influences appear to be very wide ranging, meaning that, if received generally well, this could be a future classic in the eyes of many members of the metal world. Personally, I think it’s a little bit too melodramatic and emotionally unstable to be classified as such, but there is an unnerve ring infectious quality to many of the melodies and even when the lyrics make me want to vomit, I still find myself nodding along. Though to take away the mainstream, romantic vibe would be to take away the essence of the band. Agreeable in parts, but certainly not in others.

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