Dionysus - Fairytales and reality 3.5/5
1. Illusion of life
2. The orb
4. The world
6. Queen of madness
7. The game
8. True at heart
9. Tides will turn
11. The end
Dionysus' 2nd CD 'Anima mundi' really impressed me with its catchiness, polish, and strong songwriting. Their 3rd CD also impresses for those same reasons, but there are some changes. This CD has a lot less of the speedier tracks and for the most part stays in the midtempo. This is often a recipe of disaster for my tastes, but Dionysus pulls it off well, by having a nice variety of tempos and just enough peppier songs to hold my interest. The melodic power metal stylings are still in tact, albeit at a mostly more subdued pace. Olaf Hayer, famous for his singing on the Luca Turilli solo CD's remains the band's singer and he is as enjoyable as always.
The CD's new flavor is apparent with the opening track "Illusion of life". It has a very quiet beginning with clean guitar backing up subdued vocals. It actually reminds me a lot of the beginning of Gamma Ray's opus, "Rebellion in dreamland". Once the song kicks in the similarities end. The main riff is quite compelling and has an almost classic Queensryche vibe. It's a very strong opener with a typically catchy chorus. "The orb" is a faster song which sounds a lot like your typical quick, catchy, melodic Dionysus. It has some very nice vocal harmonies and once again a very memorable chorus. Once more, the polish of Dionysus stands out, as these guys are pros. There aren't many more fast tracks on this CD. As I have mentioned they keep things in the midtempo for most of the CD.
There is also a slightly heavier feel to this CD in the riffing, though they didn't sacrifice the melody with this shift. "The world" has an almost thrashy opening riff. The band is able to succeed with a lack of fast songs by constantly varying the tempo and style of each song, and by having consistently memorable melodies. "True at heart" is one of my favorites and is probably the most similar to their previous songs. It has some opening guitar/keyboard interplay and has an incredible sing-a-long chorus. My biggest gripe about this CD is that I think the last couple tracks seem to end the CD with a whimper instead of a bang. "The end" in particular wears out its welcome with its overly long length. Neither of these songs are bad, but they generally don't live up to the usual excellent quality that I expect from Dionysus.
In interesting and troubling news, recently the band has announced the departure of founding member and drummer Ronny Milianowicz. Since he was a primary songwriter it will be interesting to hear what future CD's sound like. In the meanwhile, fans can enjoy this 3rd and latest offering which is pretty strong despite maybe not being as immediately accessible.
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