FTL: Dagoba - Black Nova (2017)

These last few days and weeks several high profile bands have or are releasing their new records. Something I have basically waited to happen all year long. Well, there was Demon Hunter, my newest discovery Dust In Mind and others, sure. But so far there's only a quarter of new music than last year and there's only 4 months left and it doesn't look really good.

Anyway, today's first time listen: Dagoba!

1. Tenebra

  • Instrumental intro, not changing my mind about instrumental intros
  • Playful, though

2. Inner Sun

  • Previous single
  • Dubstep influence
  • I'm not sure about the lyrics but I could imagine it being about the recent departures
  • Catchy chorus
  • Heavy song, more Dagoba than I feared it would sound like, due to the line-up changes but pretty Dagoba
  • Drums sound significantly different, clearly more use of cymbals

3. The Legacy Of Ares

  • somewhat slow start
  • Post Mortem Nihil Est vibes, more specifically The Day After The Apocalypse / When Winter... / B-Side of that record, instant favourite
  • A lot of cymbals again, lessen the impact, they sound like crap quality music
  • other than that a different style of heaviness
  • catchy rhythm
  • Rhythm guitar on the other hand sounds recycled, and that electronical sound here and there is unfitting af
  • I tend to use an equalizer setting for bass, but that makes the song a mesh of sounds, even without any equalizer there's this mesh-y sound quality to it, occasionally some bands tend to have this issue, keyword loudness war
  • Great song, cymbals ruin it to an extent, so no fav anymore - for now

4. Stone Ocean

  • Second single
  • Cymbals, I am not partcularly against cymbals, but they feel already overused, mainly because of their crap quality sound
  • When Winter... recycled riffs
  • Sounds similar to Inner Sun
  • Clean singing, the time the instruments get degraded into background noise only
  • Catchy in the chorus but the composition sounds a bit off in terms of electronics, drums, guitar riffs and singing/shouting
  • Shawter sounds good in the clean(er) parts, though
  • More dubstep influence, you're too late for this crap Dagoba

5. The Infinite Chase

  • Intro reminds me of some electronical band, intruiging
  • Clean parts in chorus with weird electronics
  • Singing part sounds good though, if I see past the bad use of electronics and the loudness war issue
  • One of those songs that you listen to and think okay, cool, next, nothing really rememberable - bad or good, typical filler song

6. The Grand Emptiness

  • Promising start
  • Guitar riffs sound like they hold back, don't fully use their potential, rather similar to Inner Sun
  • Another filler song, but this one sounds more uninspired regarding the instrumentals, nothing develops here
  • Weak song, I get a Poseidon feel for this record, that one had it's moments and some really, really great songs, but I never particularly liked that record as a whole for it's "let's put the drums into the foreground and use guitars as noise" style, this record does the same with lyrics vs guitars, while the drums feel like basically just cymbals

7. Lost Gravity

  • Refreshing guitar riffs - for once, just to ruin it after the intro
  • "Calm" song with Shawter starting off with clean vocals
  • Interesting song, different for Dagoba and almost "soft" in a good way
  • The first song I like even though of certain issues that this record has throughout

8. Fire Dies

  • Intro: Strings? Sounds great, dubstep? FU
  • A bit on the faster side
  • The strings part in this give it an "epic" touch
  • In the middle some back to the roots vibes (Think What Hell Is About, Face The Colossus era)
  • Good but again that particular last touch missing making this another filler

9. Phoenix & Corvus

  • First time I get the vibe of "trve" Dagoba
  • Chorus and clean vocals are great again but there's nothing more to say about this song
  • Oh, there is: maybe it's too progressive in the middle with its experimental instrumental part
  • Other than that: cool, okay, next... (outro's cool, though)

10. Vantablack

  • Prolonging what set was set in motion in Fire Dies
  • Here the clean parts sound annoying though, they sound very forced
  • The instrumental part around the middle sounds great, but is not enough to keep me interested in the song

Conclusion

Tales of the Black Dawn was already lacking greatly, this record lacks even more on many parts. The new drummer himself isn't bad, his double bass drums feel "normal", his overuse of the cymbals on the other hand is troubling. Sure, personal preferences and such but combined with the loudness of this record and the resulting mesh-y sound the cymbals sound like you're listening to 96 kbps music.

Shawter's clean singing parts are for the most part really good and they partially do remind me of older songs like Cancer, but the instrumentals and most of all the electronics can't hold up. Dagoba always used certain electronic elements and I always liked it but on this it's more than not out of place or just too much.

I am sure that there are some songs I will listen to once in a while or songs that'll grow on me (like The Infinite Chase) but still, overall this record is mediocre at best. Whoever says this is their best record clearly hasn't listened to anything else they have produced in their long carrer and some reviews claim this. It doesn't knock you out of your shoes anywhere but perhaps some songs may grow on you if you listen to them often enough.