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On disc: Dante

Saturnine - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars


(ProgRock Records - 2010)

Even if Dante was founded 2006, it's my first contact with the German prog metal band. The idea to found a band was born at a Dream Theater concert where keyboarder Markus Maichel and guitarist Markus Berger met.
The five-piece is now presenting Saturnine, their second album. The opener is called All My Life, a heavy tune which starts with an instrumental passage. The dark atmosphere soon changes when heavy riffs set in. The guys take you onto a sonic journey, there are slow, melancholy passages next to heavy, but symphonic parts. During the 12+ minute long track everyone gets the chance to shine. The guys know how to keep the balance between showing off skills and support the song which makes it a pleasure to listen to the songs!
Piano and vocals lead you into Drifting, a balladesque symphonic tune. Again Dante don't overdo it and offer a catchy tune is just beautiful! With Last they present a powerful metal song which combines progressive sound la Dream Theater with powerful heavy riffs which reminds me a bit of thrashy Iced Earth.... And singer Alexander Ghs adjusts to the more aggressive sound and partly sings in a NWoBHM-like style. Sounds strange? Well, it's a perfect symbiosis and actually one of the highlights! Another powerful metal track is Never Return, again they combine heavy riffs, symphonic elements and complex passages. There are Savatage-sque parts, too. Dante builds a bridge between different genres and times.
A piano ballad you'll get with Maybe One Day, the unobtrusive string arrangement just supports the songs atmosphere. But it's Alexander Ghs expressive vocals which is giving you goose bumps! The following instrumental Modal Acousma is a real treat for fans of complex prog metal, here the guys can show off their skills!
The closer is called Vanessa and it's a 19 minute long opus. They take you onto another sonic journey. Sometimes they offer up-tempo parts, sometime slow piano-based passages. Heavy riffs lead into instrumental passages which seems to end in a frenzy, but then a break leads them back to a less complex, but catchy passage.
Dante offer a great piece of progressive music! They find place for some highly technical parts, but most of the time they play in a song supportive way. They have catchy melodies and heavy riffs, symphonic elements and 70's sounds. Kudos!

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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