Dimma - Dimma
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Dimma are an Icelandic band who are of interest to Sickthings because they feature members of Michael Bruce's Icelandic band heard on 'Halo Of Ice' and 'The Second Coming Of Michael Bruce'. They also supported Alice himself in 2006 at his Iceland show and are HUGE Alice Cooper fans.
Okay, now that's out of the way forget any pre-conceptions the above may give you, as it has nothing to do with how Dimma actually sound. In fact the album cover doesn't help either, as on first impressions it makes them appear to be an ultra heavy black/death metal band with all the satanic overtones such bands normally project. This is also completely off the mark. Maybe the best way to describe Dimma is to think of 'Brutal Planet' style Alice Cooper with a little less industrial and a little more metal. The main influences I think I hear would be Maiden and Sabbath although maybe the band would disagree.
The opening track 'Dimma' starts the album off with an eastern sounding intro before moving into a slow grinding riff. The first thing you notice is just how good the production, by Ingo and Silli, is for what is basically a self financed release. Easily as good as any big label release. The band are tight and professional with every instrument clear in the mix. 'Bullets' is the song that first made me think of the 'Brutal Planet' comparison. It's a song that could have fitted on that album easily with another grinding riff that powers along. 'Black Magic' is the sort of thing Iron Maiden haven`t been able to come up with for at least 15 years. Cool duel guitars lead to the comparison. Mix Maiden with Sabbath and you'll get the idea.
'Cockeye Gutterworm' has more Maiden-esque riffs but without sounding to derivative. It has an almost 70s classic rock feel in places. Good stuff.
'Silverstar' is the first ballad on the album highlighting the great playing and the vocals of Hjalti (by the way, all lyrics are in english). 'Mr Sinister' adds a twist with it's polka-like beat, acoustic guitar and accordion (keyboard?) adding variety to the mix. Catchy as hell but the lyrics won't get it any radio play!! This is not an album for anyone concerned about profanity!! Listening to Ingo's acoustic guitar especially really highlights just how technical excellent the band, completed by drummer Bjarki, are.
'Big Bad Mama' definitely has a Sabbath feel to it. Wish I could put my finger on who the vocals sound like. There's a hint of Eddie Vedder occasionally, a touch of Blackie Lawless as well, but I suppose it doesn't matter, the fact is the vocals are every bit as good as the rest of the band. Controlled and melodic which is far better then the screamers/grunters that unfortunately many bands have nowadays.
'Doom' is more Sabbath influenced grind, almost Alice In Chains really I suppose but 'Dementia' is the real Alice-influenced one here with 'Years Ago' type harpsichord and wind-up toy noises before the volume rises with some insane guitar playing. Excellent stuff.
'Stardust' opens with more subtle acoustic playing. A beautiful power ballad proving again that there is more to this band then pounding riffs. The huge end section should be epic on stage, it just builds and builds. A great end to the album.
Added as a bonus is the video for 'Cockeye Gutterworm' which is a nice touch. Basically a 'live in the studio' performance with fast edits it would stand up perfectly if played on TV. The professionalism displayed by the whole package is admirable on what must be a limited budget. The booklet includes all lyrics and credits as well as a band photo.
Compared to much of what is getting released these days 'Dimma' is simply outstanding and I don't say that lightly. I must admit I wasn't expecting anything like this from the band. The album can easily stand up with the best current releases by any band. Hell, it's a LOT better then 99% of them!! Sure the musical influences are, I think, obvious but that doesn't take anything away from the style and quality of the execution. No filler tracks here (are you listening Iron Maiden?). All top quality songwriting and performances. If a major label ever got to hear this they should sign the band up instantly. So if your tastes are in the heavier side of the musical spectrum and you liked 'Brutal Planet' and 'Dragontown', do yourself a big favour and get a copy of this. I doubt you'll be disappointed. Highly recommended.