Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn (Scarlet Records)Tuesday, 20th April 2021
Eight years removed from their last release The Last Embrace to Humanity, Italian progressive metal band Odd Dimension have retooled the lineup to hopefully gain more momentum despite the inactivity. Evolving from philosophical/humanistic topics of the past into a more practical, concrete outlook for this third album The Blue Dawn, the quintet now contains drummer Marco Lazzarini (Secret Sphere, Hell in the Club) and vocalist Gianbattista ‘Jan’ Manenti (The Unity). The sci-fi conceptual storyline has an existential feel not dissimilar to Rush back in the 2112 era – just taken to a much more modern approach with two space travelers landing on a new planet to restore order, save their children, and mix with hosts to generate a new race.
The supplementary cyber narrative accents and audio clips/themes add intrigue and color to the normal vocal and instrumental proceedings – the band coming from an obvious progressive rock/metal platform of influences from the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. Virtuoso passages from keyboardist Gabriele Ciaccia and guitarist Gianmaria Saddi set up much of the musicianship – the organ strains throughout “The Invasion” giving off an early Uriah Heep/ Emerson, Lake & Palmer vibe while the thoughtful lead work very melodic and dramatic in spots. Versatility and diversity are keys for front to back appeal – the quintet mindful of not overloading the listener in technicality, letting certain songs provide that airy aural turn in calmness, aligning well with the bluesy and powerful register of Gianbattista. “Escape to Blue Planet” a tour de force with shimmering symphonic nuances against brilliant guitar passages, aided by the guest female vocal support from Aileen – the song midway through speeding up with some sophisticated rhythm section manipulation that fans of Rush, Dream Theater, or even 70’s Kansas will be pleased to hear. The eight main songs are lengthy (between six to ten-minutes on average) as there are many elements to get across, but you never feel like Odd Dimension overstay their welcome with extraneous parts, everything cohesive and having its place. Cello work from Daniela Caschetto appears on the shorter instrumental “Solar Wind”, while the longest song the title track at over ten-minutes features tranquil guitars at the start, building intensity into playful circus-like instrumental juggling, circular accents for memorable musical sequences, and awesome guest support towards the back half of the arrangement from Roberto Tiranti (Labyrinth).
Favorites change by the day – lately the uplifting mechanics and keyboard/guitar tradeoff aspects to “Sands of Yazukia” work amazingly well, Aileen traversing progressive rock ecstasy through her mid-range and upper register emotional connectivity. Odd Dimension have executed a thoroughly satisfying comeback, a progressive metal record that will appease all followers of the movement, young and old – and hopefully keep them on a steady arc upward into reestablishing themselves as a proven entity for the genre.