The RMR music search radar always combs the vast reaches of the metal multiverse for the funky and the extraordinary. For bands that don’t quite care about styles and conventions – and, in turn, don’t make a mess out of it. And sometimes we indeed stumble upon some promising vibes that talk to those grouchy deckhands stuck in the RMR office suite. Bands that can morph the many distractions the metal multiverse offers into something focused and innovative.
So, we’re glad that we came across the Finnish band Dimman with their first single some time ago. Not too much there yet, but we knew that we had something special. And sure enough, Songs and Tales of Grievance set that itchy writing gene into motion.
In many ways, Dimman sounds like Lacuna Coil 2.0. A new dimension, where growls come with true grit and the female vocalists playfully belts her wares out of the loudspeakers.1) Now, that’s some heavy sledgehammer-style name-dropping right there. But bear with me for a moment. It’s not that Dimman try to be a copycat version of an insanely well-established Italian metal band, far from it. Instead, this band and its newest record are exactly where such a style should be. Refreshing, bubbly, and full of pretty good ideas.
True, the record displays a slow gothic twist. But their main fare is Melodic Death Metal that comes on a delicious flow of female vocals. That allows them to cut the truly harsh metal down into bite-sized parts and let the more melodic sections soar. That’s The Beauty and The Beast reinvented all over again. And we thought the idea was long dead and gone. Go figure, right?
Jenna Kohtala plays a major part in the success of the record. The way she alternates between slow-motion vocals to soaring belted passages makes me want to recommend her to any number of bands out there. I guess we will be hearing from her in the future, she’ll be going places. That said, Valtteri Halkola‘s growls are spot on as well.
Now, coming back to style. In all that sea of Death Metal forays of all sorts, you’ll also find a fair amount of prog. To the point that Progradation – nomen est omen – would make a younger Steven Wilson proud. Not the modern one, mind you, where he became the King of Pop or something.
Speaking of which. Songs and Tales of Grievance gorges with such an amount of synth elements that the band needs to be careful not to fall off the deep end. Lest they suddenly find themselves in Pop Metal territory that outfits like Amaranthe occupy. And we don’t want that, right?
Now, the record starts with a friggin’ thunderbolt. Ambuscade just stomps onto the stage like a state-of-the-art Death Metal whirlwind to the point that I doubted my judgment for a moment. Well, this thing gets your attention real quick – to say the least. But sure enough, after a few moments of hesitation, Kohtala chimes in to break up that abject brutality some.
This first track already displays that penchant towards tech death, so their Melodeath is somewhat unusual, to say the least. The pleasurable Contretemps sports that very same attribute. But – otherwise – it would sit well with Nightwish if only those folks would feature growls.
Yet, if you’re short on time and you’d like to dive straight into the essence of Songs and Tales, look no further than Paroxysm or Morbus. Those two tracks surf onto shore on a wave of outstanding technicality with a gothic hue that we found too tasty to resist.2) But in short, both perfectly integrate what this band can do.
Dimman‘s Songs and Tales of Grievance put a smile on this reviewer’s face right from the offset. The band is all over the place with their stylish excursions. And that’s right up our alley. More importantly, the mostly clean production, the outstanding musicianship on display, and – indeed – the performance of both vocalists, resulted in a rich soundscape that we haven’t seen too often lately. Even if I would have preferred the bassist to slap it a bit more prominently.
But, in the end, all of those negatives amount to nothing much, and you’ll find yourself with a record that will surely run hot on your turntable for a while. Crafty metal for metalheads. What else would you want on any day of the week, right?