At what point should a band cease to use their original moniker and seek a new name? In the case of bands like Queensryche, this question is currently causing all sorts of confusion and the least said about Guns N’ Roses over recent years the better. I only ask this rhetorical question because in the case of DGM, their name originally stemmed from the initials of the three founding members who are no longer present in the band. This strikes me as odd, but nevertheless, the Italian progressive power metallers return unperturbed and somewhat unbelievably, with their eighth album, entitled “Momentum”.
I have been aware of DGM since the early days of their career and, despite owning a couple of their discs, have never really referred to myself as a fan per se. I always found their output a little bit patchy, falling just shy of a standard that would have me sitting up and taking notice. That will now change thanks to this gloriously energetic and expansive record which has raised the bar significantly for the quintet, certainly in my humble opinion anyway.
At the outset, I must be clear and state categorically that DGM are not progressive in the manner of, say, Leprous or Tool. Theirs is a breed of metal that more accurately straddles the genres of power metal and prog with a clear emphasis on penning punchy and catchy songs that don’t dwell too heavily on in-your-face technicality and complexity. Elements of Symphony X and their ilk weave in and out of the DGM framework, most notably via some excellent guitar work courtesy of Simone Mularoni. That said, DGM are more overtly melodic and a little less neo classical than the Americans.
The opening track, ‘Reason’ actually features a guest vocal performance from Symphony X’s Russell Allen. As openers go, this one really grabs the listener by the balls and sets the marker down for the rest of the record. It goes without saying that the vocals of both Allen and Mark Basile are superb but the riffs are powerful, the leads by both the guitars and keys are frenetic and the chorus is gloriously epic.
‘Blame’ opens up with a striking guitar and atmospheric synth combo and retains a more classic progressive metal feel throughout, whereas ‘Universe’ comes across as more of a power metal-meets-Kamelot number complete with a double-pedal driven chorus. ‘Repay’ provides the ubiquitous lighter-in-the-air segment of the album, but in a way that’s engaging rather than the very definition of tedium or worse, cheese.
Elsewhere, aside from a couple of minor dips here and there, the song writing and performances maintain a high and admirably consistent level meaning that this is an album of which DGM can be rightly proud. “Momentum” therefore is well-named as I fully expect it to result in them pushing their career another notch forward and gaining the attention of many more fans in the process.