Dallian are a new act on me, but one I plucked from out Big Pile o’ Review Albums on a whim. Billed as encompassing death metal, prog, symphonic and world music, they obviously pull in from many influences and, having given Automata a few listens now, they do it well.
There is an edge of the experimental to their sound – how can there not with such a wide musical base? – but the cold, black heart is one of thundering death metal. The occasional mad flurry and atmospheric overtone ticks the prog box, while the symphonic fans can be kept happy with the sheer scale of things. Where some bands have gone for the melodic death style, Dallian’s style is definitely grander and more operatic. As for world music, there’s a Portuguese guitar in there which crops up from track to track to add a definite unique feel – as if the existing mélange isn’t unique enough already.
With thirteen tracks including a handful of particularly lengthy numbers (three tip the scales of time at 7 minutes or over), you definitely get value for money with this album. Despite the length, there’s no real time to get bored. If you’re not banging your head to the belting death segments, you can be soaking up the airy tones of the symphonic ones. Dallian have opted to open with a short number, “Genesis of Awakening”, before following it up with one of the longer songs, “Satori”. It’s testament to their songwriting and musicianship that the latter holds the interest every bit as easily as the former despite being three times as long.
It’s this multi-facet approach that gives Automata such staying power. I can listen to this album in almost any mood and I’ll find something that hooks me and makes me feel “yes, this is what I want to be listening to at the moment.” I can rock to it, I can kick back to it, I can work to it, I can run to it… About the only thing I’ve not done so far is get bored of it.
With songs ranging from the epic, soaring “The Lie Vision” to the blastbeat-filled abrasion of “The Nun From Azrael”, there’s plenty on here to keep the most ardent progressive/symphonic death metal-head happy. If you’re a fan of two out of three, then maybe Dallian are the band to get you to embrace the third.
Automata is out now