DGM - Change Direction

Year of Release: 1998
Label: Elevate Records
Catalog Number: ER02003
Format: CD
Total Time: 48:28:00

Yet another Italian Prog Metal band emerges ... however, this is not another symphonic band, but one that takes a more traditional approach, relying on the speedy guitar runs, double bass runs, and some neo-classical based sounds along the way ... What appears at first to be a stab at a Symphony X approach, quickly turns into a more traditional sound after a song or two. Here is the rundown on this band:


I wish I could say that this is another neo-classical styled band, but after the first two or three songs, they abandon this approach and head into more familiar territory. Why they do this confuses me, because they really have a good sound going right off the bat, and it would be easy to say that this band could have been an Italian version of Symphony X, but maybe they were trying to avoid this? Whatever the reason, it is sort of anti-climactic considering that they come out firing from the beginning, and then seem to back off of the speed a bit. Fans of Yngwie, Symphony X and others of this nature are really going to dig the opening few tracks as they are speedy, melodic and loaded with those famous double bass runs that are hard to keep up with ... The fourth song then gives the obligatory ballad, and well done it is. Plenty of piano, acoustic guitar, and strings abound on this one.

The fifth song is the key that the tempo has changed, along with the general overall approach to the songs. It starts off with a killer double bass run, leading you to believe that this is going to be another one of those scorching neo songs, but it quickly turns into a screaming slug fest between the singer and the music, with the singer pretty much yelling the words instead of singing them. He doesn't pull this off quite well considering his accent, and it sounds like an Italian dude yelling at his girlfriend who just left him. Oh yes, there is plenty of cheese to slice and dice on this disc as well. Seems as though someone in this band has had more than their share of bad run-ins with the local femmes, and they aren't bashful about singing the blues. The rest of the disc turns into some "poppy" type metal, worlds apart from their opening pieces, and I wonder if this material was recorded at different times than their more modern material. On one song, there is a tape playing of "Stairway To Heaven" in the background as the song closes. Now, I am not sure, but I am gathering that the title, Change Direction is there for a reason, since they certainly do this about halfway through the disc.


Bass, drums, keyboards, guitar, singer ... The usual lineup, and I have to admit that these guys are super talented. Each member is very skilled at his instrument, especially the guitarist and its probably in the songwriting dept. that these guys need to bone up on. Given their opening neo-classical pieces, I can't figure out why a band this talented would revert back to some basic metal songs that border on "poppy" at times. The drummer is extremely fast, and lets loose those soaring double bass runs at every turn even if the music doesn't call for it, and I applaud him. Seems as though he wants to fly most of the time while the others want to slow it down. The keyboardist is very good as well, laying down some nice background sounds while the guitar runs circles around the rest of the band. The bass player has to be good to keep up with this guitarist, but he is put back in the mix just a bit. Why doesn't that surprise me for an Italian band ? Didn't anyone teach their sound people that there IS a bass player in the band and that he is supposed to be heard?? I'd love to send some great sound man over there to give lessons on how to record these instruments, they certainly could use the help in this dept. Overall, the talent is there, its just that abrupt change in style that really throws the feel of this disc, because it really starts out great.


Actually, despite what I said, this is not a bad production, just one that is lacking in areas. Specifically, the bass. I've noticed this in Skylark, Time Machine, this band and many other Italian bands. They just refuse to crank up the bass enough to hear or feel it. With my subwoofer on, I still can't pick up any thuds or bangs from this band or the ones I've mentioned with the same problem. The drum sound is nicely laid down, as is should be with a player this fast. He needs and wants to be heard, and he is. The guitarist's sound is pretty good, but nowhere near as crunchy as I would have recorded it at. It also a bit of a "tinny" sound as well. The keyboard sound is very well done, put a bit up in the mix to give this band a nice, clean blanket of melodic warmth when it needs it.


Well, at least this guy isn't cursed with that "Italian-itis" that most of their singers have. This guy, although heavily accented at times, sounds a bit like a cross between Klaus Meine (Scorpions), and some other singer I can't put my ear on at the moment. He is good, but when he yells his words, his accent comes flying through ... it can be thick at times, but for the most part when he sings, he sounds very good. He won't win any awards, but he does not sound like most of the other Italian singers out there. Only when he yells, does he get a bit irritating and his accent shines through. Otherwise, he is quite listenable.


I thought I would throw in a few words about the words, because as I said above, this band seems to have had its share of hanging out with scorned women, because lots of the songs deal with relationships gone bad, and in one song the singer actually yells obscenities at a woman who has obviously scorned him. The cheese patrol is going to have a ball with this stuff, I thought I'd forewarn you. When the subject isn't on how bad someone has been burned by a woman, the band still maintains a dark, deep approach to subject matter at hand. The music doesn't reflect this, and the words don't come across as dark as the band wrote them. Some of the music is actually quite uplifting, and I can't figure out why the lyrical content didn't follow.


Overall, anyone looking for something to gnaw on while you wait for the main course should pick up a copy of this disc. It is not mindblowing, but it's a cool listen nonetheless. I really wish that the band would have stayed in their neo-classical tone which they start off the disc with. It is quite apparent that the Change Direction title refers to the abrupt change in musical style that this band undergoes halfway through this disc. An interesting idea, but I don't know of many bands, if any, that could start off with a smoking neo-classical style and then turn to a more traditional approach and keep a listener interested after the change.

Brainstorming (5:03) / In My Heart (4:35) / The Last Memory (7:33) / Lonely Nights (7:05) / Anthem (8:48) / Do What You Want! (4:52) / Change Direction (6:47) / Flyin? Fantasy (5:05)

Diego Reali - guitars
Gianfranco Tassella - drums
Luciano Regoli - vocals
Maurizio Pariotti - keyboards and backing vocals
Marco Marchiori - bass and backing vocals

Random Access Zone (1996)
Change Direction (1997)
Wings Of Time (1999)
Dreamland (2001)
Hidden Place (2003)
Misplaced (2004)
Different Shapes (2007)
Frame (2009)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.dgmsite.com
Hits: 1426
Language: english


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