Dungeon - One Step Beyond

Year of Release: 2005
Label: Limb Music Products
Catalog Number: LMP 0502-076/SPV CD 085-4
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Dungeon's 2005 release One Step Beyond doesn't make any bones about what it's about and won't take any originality honors. As it charges right out of the gate (a phrase that has become cliché) with "The Power Within" it may have you think that you'll get a lot of screamy metal, but after that opening yelp from vocalist Lord Tim, we settle into metal that is more akin to a speedier Iron Maiden. Speedier, and with more harmony vocals over the power riffs, but there's that classic metal drive that is Maiden. Sure there's the wild and nearly-over-the-top guitars from Stu. and Tim, as well as jackhammer drums from Stevo, and a few other metal-yells from Tim, but this doesn't get so much so that it's a parody of metal. Another comparison, given its "warrior metal" feel, is to Blind Guardian.

It's big and epic; the title track has a bludgeoning rhythm, leavened by a heroic chorus of the "everyone sing along now" variety. We actually get track after track of the same sort of metal. Dungeon aren't original, but they do do what they do very well, with a nice tone, good vocals, and plenty of those big riffy solos to satisfy the hungriest fan. And from what I can tell, don't cop any particular riffs or rhythms from anyone one band, just making sure they stay within the context of classic heavy speedy power metal. So, you can also gather that this isn't very "progressive." What characterizes every track is heavy, very-prominent drums and throbbing bass, leaving the melody and "beauty parts" to the guitars and vocals -- you'll find big, heroic choruses also the order of the day (though not with full-on choruses, a la Rhapsody and the like). Guitars intertwine smoothly, taking separate paths only when necessary. There is almost no gap between tracks, though fadeouts tell you where one piece ends and another begins. This leaves you with a speeding-train feel, especially as this album lasts less than an hour.

I like every track here, but one that stands out a bit more is sing-along epic "Under The Cross" - mostly due to the super clean melody of the chorus, which lingers long after the album's done. But, the title track's pretty good, too. "The Act Of War" is a piece of epic proportions - beginning more sedate than anything else here, showing a bit of texture before flexing its metal muscle again. As befits the dirty nature of war, this is a vocally darker piece. Gruff harmonies characterize this grizzly piece, just as much as do the bashing drums -- gruff, edging towards cookie monster. Strummed, Latin-guitar intros "Tarranno Del Mar," one of two of, maybe, the most progressive-minded piece on offer where the guitars are concerned, and the most gruff performance vocally. At 8:16, it's also the longest piece. Here's where the Blind Guardian comparisons come in. "The Hunger" is more balladic, the drums a little more dynamic and out of power mode - though still making a strong statement. It's here that we get some of the trio's most progressive playing... again, mostly where the guitars are concerned. It's a piece that throttles everything back, and settles into creating a little more artier atmosphere (rapid fire drumming isn't entirely absent, but is sparsely imployed). "Surface Tension" is another track that stands out - assertive and mature, chugging along in tight formation... anthemic.

"Epilogue" will remind you, a bit, of Jimi Hendrix's take on the "Star Spangled Banner," only far less showy and dynamic - that is to say, it's a distorted guitar solo lasting a mere 1:04.

While researching a bit more info on the band, I learned that one version of this release has a bonus cover track of ... Duran Duran's "Planet Earth." Hmm.... other versions have different bonus tracks: Dokken's "Til The Living End," Queen's "The Hero' and Anthrax's "Stand Or Fall."

At the end of 2005, the band announced a split, with Tim planning to reissue his solo album, as Lord, and then forming a new group with that moniker, a line up that includes Dungeon drummer Tim Yatras. There will be, the website says, a final 2006 release, but then nothing more.

The Power Within (5:12) / Tarranno Del Mar (8:16) / One Step Beyond (4:09) / Against The Wind (4:28) / The Art Of War (5:45) / The Hunger (6:51) / Surface Tension (5:28) / Under The Cross (7:47) / Epilogue (1:04)

Lord Tim - lead & backing vocals, guitars, bass and keyboards
Stu - guitars
Stevo - drums

Changing Moods (promo) (1995)
Demolition (Japan only, oop) (1996)
Resurrection (1999)
A Rise To Power (2003)
Rising Power (ltd ed., AU, NZ, JP only) (2003)
Under The Rising Sun (CD + DVD) (2004)
One Step Beyond (2004/2005)
Resurrection (re-recorded) (2005)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin AU

Added: February 5th 2006
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.dungeon.cd
Hits: 1133
Language: english


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