Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

The gist: too conforming and easy - 45%

Byrgan, June 13th, 2010

Almost on cue, the nineties hit and music began to again evolve with metal going through a transitional period. In the decade, there were a few factions within the confines of metal, but the main revolution was thicker music, bassier music, music that began to drop technical feats, go less on speed and become simplistic, not just basic because that can still yield results, but more accurately described as "watered down" to those accustomed to bands at least pushing themselves forward or wanting to at least annoy your neighbors with "that noise" instead of now being able to invite them over. 'Musical Guide From Stellium' is essentially a product that would lead up to nu-metal or groove oriented bands. While this release doesn't sound identical to those groups, yet was the precursor to it like the late eighties easy-come-easy-go thrash bands were to this.

Dorsal opted with 'Musical Guide' to become more commercialized and in order to do that would have to strip more fat away or cook the meal a little bit longer, essentially creating a more consumable and digestible entree. And with the production being the loudest and proudest up to this point, causes this to sound less hairy and full of bass. The band does alternate between some semi-complex rhythms, solos and spread out faster sections. Though mostly the speed is mid-paced and at times attempts to go for a rough-and-tough, crushing mentality. I'm sure some bands can pull this off, yet others seem to lose themselves into something that feels forced or with aggression that's light-hearted enough not be taken with much tangibility.

The music shows some noticeable past influences of thrash and shreds of buried hardcore, but have that emerging loose nineties genre description of 'metal.' Essentially not finding a single joint faction that can be called home, but throwing quite a few influences into a big melting pot: heavy, speed, thrash, hardcore, all into the slapped-together foundation of a place called "their current living quarters." At this point, you might as well allude to them by band name and not worry about genre distinction. The guitars here display an over abundance of chugging: chug this, chug that, chug all over the place...and chug you too! You'd have thought Vulcano's 'Ratrace' would have ran the well dry for them. Basically there are parts on each song that hand out applications, but are dominated by an unequal working opportunity among the testosterone based riffing structures for other techniques to get full standing with subtlety or finesse. Their second and third albums at least gave me introspection, this can be an intruder to my brain frequencies.

The vocals are hoarse and somewhat gruff, at times showing some rounding instead of coming across as guttural; think of an offshoot of a more controlled hardcore range without the shouts. There are a few fluctuations, though he isn't attempting full singing moments by any means. Essentially using out of tune, higher and lower toned accentuation. For some perspective to a more well-known band, Pantera around that period is a close enough reminder. It isn't a replica to Pantera, but both show a lineage from the earlier '80s with a different outlook when they fully stepped into the '90s, basically going the pathway of thicker music in combination with rougher vocal lines that spout life lessons that droves of rebellious youth would eat up (and if inspired enough crap out). Pantera eventually would be known for the clean/scream style and their influence on the groove genre. Dorsal Atlantica would maintain a steady gruff while musically adopting further anecdotes from hardcore and even sound like a better produced crust/grindcore band on their last output 'Straight' in the nineties. So maybe they eventually got fed up after beginning to conform here.

It's pretty hard for me to listen to 'Musical Guide From Stellium,' to review it: fine, as a casual listen: no. It has too many forced "heavy" moments, making me tightly cross my arms instead of loosely banging my head, so if a decent part comes up, and they do, I'm still defensive. They were a group that would go through different phases and particular styles. Sometimes working, other times not entirely working. This release isn't evenly split up, and sides more with not functioning for a person who got into their prior releases. This isn't the bottom of the barrel like Sepultura's 'Roots' or Korzus's 'K.Z.S.' as far as Brazilian releases in the nineties would go. However, with so many varying styles that Dorsal Atlantica would have, I can see a set list when they played live for a particular person still being either sensational, conflicting, or just simply draws a line between fans that aren't open minded enough for it all, which is where I'm at. I'm sure there is a fan base for this, as the recording quality is well-produced even with the drums and bass getting special attention, and the music is also workable to a certain set of mainstream listeners. Though from my perspective, there is a dividing faction between their outputs, having an alternating but not so consistently decorated span, and this release is unfortunately part of that notion.