Saturday, February 18, 2006

Steve Gilmore Reviews: Ditheramb - Euphoria

Artist: Ditheramb
Title: Euphoria

The major problem with reviewing so many tracks a month is that you quickly forget just why you gushed buckets over this track but not over that one... Take Ditheramb for example. This Brisbane, Australian four peice heavy rock band got inundated with praise when I reviewed In My Shadow (October 2005) and for the life of me I couldn't remember the track at all when I came to write this review. Therefore, it's a constant process of going back listening, and comparing that with the new stuff to see what has changed and why. Much more mysteriously, for a heavy rock band such praise was fulsome indeed because although I like the classic rock style, heavy metal is too ingrained in my own deaf past to be anything more than yeah, yeah, seen it, done it...

In this case, it didn't really matter because by about the fifth play Euphoria had me hooked and going back to the original track only served to confirm that my earlier review was bang on. Certainly about their willingness to stretch this usually very narrow genre, because where In My Shadow gave me a taste for what this band are about, Euphoria gave me the feast. From the highly effective sdrawkcab vocal intro, to the clear, cutting guitar lines, this track is - as the man says - 'a perfect story'. Initially it was the guitar sound and the ever changing way it was used to propel the track that interested me. Then I started to notice just how detailed the arrangement was, and before much longer the whole thing crashed down around my ears. There is a real inspiration dash about the work Ditheramb are doing and this track shows EXACTLY why they are that little bit special.

Again, in common with In My Shadow, this is filed under Metal and yes, in a way it is that. To my ears however, as someone who lived through the headiest days of this genre, Ditheramb have a grasp of their subject matter that fair takes my breath away. If I told you that two of my favourite groups of that period were a band called Spirit (12 Dreams of Dr Sardonicus is a seminal album) and a UK band called Spooky Tooth, then this is who Ditheramb remind me most of. Both bands were very rock based and employed similar styles; mini epics featuring instruments and muscular arrangements that took a lot of thought and intelligence to make work. The end result are tracks that start off small but grow with repetition into worlds unto themselves. Nothing around like Ditheramb in my books, and I review a LOT of this kind of stuff but none makes the impact this band does.

MUST HAVE (metal, petal but not as you would know it...)

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