A decade on from their self-titled debut album, French industrial metallers Dagoba have found themselves having to undergo something of a re-invention for this, their fifth full-length album – and not least because of the sudden and controversial departure last year of founder Izakar, whose guitar sound many fans and critics alike considered to be the cornerstone of the band and their (relatively modest) success to date.
With the recruitment of new guitarist Yves ‘Z’ Trezibachian, Dagoba have eschewed the dark gothic foreboding of their earlier output, and also moved away from the cleaner, groovier output of their later material to a sound that could possibly be best described as progressive industrial, lying somewhere between their fellow countrymen Gojira, Meshuggah and Mastodon.
The songs are all built on harsh, often sparse, rhythms which are effective as much for what they omit as what they include – see ‘Yes, We Die’ for a prime example of this approach – and are topped up by huge swathes of immensely punishing yet melodic guitars, which in turn combine brutal riffs with atmospheric and evocative passages of almost ethereal translucence (check out the brief instrumental ‘Nevada’, with its African/Amerindian touch, which beautifully breaks up the album at its halfway point).
The star performance, however, is that of vocalist Shawter, who shifts effortlessly between the album’s various degrees and shades, from dissonant death metal grunting through to uplifting harmonics: having said that, the band as whole are a tight unit and not afraid to push the boundaries of their sound to almost illogical limits – such as the metalcore feel of ‘The Great Wonder’, where even its dancebeat interjections work within the overall concept of the piece.
An interesting and ultimately rewarding album and definitely one worth exploring if you like a little bit of experimentation in your metal diet.
1. When Winter…
2. The Realm Black
3. I, Reptile
4. Yes, We Die
5. Kiss Me, Kraken
7. The Great Wonder
8. The Day After The Apocalypse
9. Son Of A Ghost
10. Oblivion Is For The Living
11. By the Sword
‘Post Mortem Nihil Est’ is released by earMUSIC on June 14th. For further information visit www.ear-music.net.
Check out Dagoba’s official Facebook page @ https://www.facebook.com/dagoba13