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Solid and sometimes spectacular - 78%

PorcupineOfDoom, June 24th, 2016

Dementia have been playing an interesting progressive/melodic death metal hybrid since all the way back in 1989, so it's somewhat surprising that they remain so well hidden from the limelight that they deserve. Dreaming in Monochrome is a fine example of what they can do, and I have a feeling that I'll look into the rest of their discography at some point in the future.

I'm not really one for long songs, which is a theme Dementia make use of here. There are only five tracks on Dreaming in Monochrome, but the album still manages to last fifty-four minutes. Certainly it's unlikely that I would choose to listen to anything the length of the title track (almost nineteen minutes long) outwith the context of the album. However, with the album as a whole in mind this is not so much of a problem, as the songs have a tendency to eb and flow between different styles and sounds and the changing of tracks isn't any big deal as a result. At times I do find that the constant stream of music gets a little tiring, but to their credit Dementia do whatever they can to shake things up and keep the listener's attention. The acoustic sections in particular work well as a way to change the pace of the songs as they're executed to perfection. I just think that sometimes the band tries to hard to go back and forth a certain number of times before they really get to the point, and for me personally it gets a bit tiring.

That's pretty much my only complaint. The guitars sound crisp and there's a nice blend of fairly basic riffing and more complex sequences of melodic leads or the occasional solo. Sometimes I think that the music doesn't have the same power to it that similar bands like Mist of Nihil boast and perhaps that makes it a little less captivating in some regards, but it's only a minor detraction. I'm not entirely sold on the odd tone of the keyboard whenever it takes the lead, but for the most part it remains somewhere out of earshot. The vocal approach is pretty basic, largely comprised of harsh vocals that are surprisingly passionate at times but usually executed in a way that makes them just okay. Cleans come into it every now and again, and actually I quite enjoy them, but they're mostly saved for the softer sections for added emphasis there. It's not necessarily a bad way to tackle things, but I can't help but think that Dreaming in Monochrome would be much more interesting if there was more of a crossover between the two vocal styles. I don't recall one moment where the two styles were used in the same segment of music.

Musically it's tight, and if you like long, progressive songs then this is for you. There are moments that I think are brilliant, but at others I find myself growing slightly bored. While I wouldn't call this album bad (or even mediocre), I don't quite think that Dreaming in Monochrome can be considered an all-time great either.