Dogma (The) - Black roses 4/5

Reviewed: 6-30-06





Tracklist:

1. Black roses
2. Wicked angels
3. Queen of the damned
4. Devil's bride
5. ...and Julie no more
6. Ghost of war
7. Temptation
8. Waiting for the rain
9. Sands of time
10. Maryann


Wow, what a difference a few years can make! The Dogma first entered my world of metal back in 2002 when they released an EP titled 'Symphonies of love and hate'. The EP is of longer running time than normal (over 30 minutes) and is in the symphonic power metal style of bands like Skylark, Gutter Sirens and Landguard, or perhaps the debuts from Dark Horizon, Kaledon and Dragonhammer. The EP showed some promise with the songwriting aspect, but was greatly hurt by a production that severely favored the treble and vocalist Daniele Santori's rare but ear-piercing screeches.

The Dogma has made major changes and provided us with an outstanding full-length debut 'Black roses' though. Besides Daniele, only keyboardist Stefano Smeriglio remains in the line-up. But Daniele really needs to be commended for clearing up his vocals on 'Black roses', singing with more control and settling into a clear mid-range (still occasionally high) sure to please almost every fan of the genre. And what's even better, is the fair amount of promise I heard in the songwriting department with their EP has gone far beyond what I was expecting from the band. Almost every song on 'Black roses' is catchy, memorable and well performed.

But the band has also changed their musical direction a bit, from the typical Italian symphonic power metal previously mentioned, to a much more bombastic variety of symphonic heavy/power metal quite similar to what's heard from Karelia (another favorite of mine!). There are powerful choirs, but no tenor vocals are present on 'Black roses' as there are on Karelia's debut 'Usual tragedy', so the band comparison is geared more towards Karelia's sophomore effort 'Raise'. Both bands offer up similar tempos, consisting mostly of bouncy/crunchy rhythms but with enough speed to more than satisfy and plenty of hooks are present as well. I also like how almost every song features a guitar solo. Awesome!

'Black roses' is truly another one of those CDs where I don't really have favorite songs, as the entire CD is consistently outstanding. With exception of the well done ballad "Maryann" that closes the CD, all the songs are upbeat, catchy and just about match the best that we've heard from Karelia thus far. 'Black roses' is probably recommended to just about everyone who will come across this review and I'm sure future releases from the band (we'd better see some!) will be just as good. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this is one of the best bands in the genre in 4 or 5 years.



CLINT




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