Dagoba – Post Mortem Nihil Est (eOne)Wednesday, 6th November 2013
The mercurial oddball on the European groove metal facade, France’s Dagoba have done some label-hopping of late, going from their home country’s Season of Mist, to XIII Bis, and now over to eOne for the North American territory. Maybe this is an indication of where the band really stands, that no one knows what to do with them, or how to market them, or how to make sense of their name or their over-lapping subgenre alliances. So in essence, this mutated ability to hang around with multiple metal permutations is either Dagoba’s greatest strength, or primary deterrent on their fifth album, Post Mortem Nihil Est.
Sonically, the album is on par all the way, with those big sounds and loads of layering, which gives the modern/Euro/groove blend its station. While the noticeable moments of heaviness or partial extremity on “Oblivion is for the Living” and “I, Reptile” are halfway crushing and memorable, lead single and designated radio hit “The Great Wonder” shows that Dagoba still haven’t made up their mind if they want to be the French Soilwork, or the less cyber Raunchy or Sybreed. But when they stick their necks out with groove ala “Yes We Die” and “By the Sword,” that’s when the band sounds their most realized and focused.
Chameleon bands such as Dagoba make life difficult for themselves on the basis of being too varied and multi-faceted. Such an approach is certainly worth a look, though, for it beats the play-it-safe mode a lot of established outfits find comfort in. Alas, there’s no real standing ground with Post Mortem Nihil Est. You’re going to get a little bit of everything, which in this case, might not be the way to go if commercial expansion is the goal.