Dionysus - Anima Mundi
Swedish Dionysus with vocalist and frontman Olaf Hayer
(you know... also in Luca Turilli, Treasure Seeker and Lord Byron) also
consists of members that can be found in other metal constellations
as well. Drummer Milianowicz also handles the sticks in Sinergy, keyboarder
Dahlqvist is currently an employee of Stormwind and used to be in Malmsteen,
and axeman Öhlin and bass player Noberg have positions in the line
up of Nation. Anyway, here this five headed piece makes a second attempt
to attract followers across the globe with their sophomore album Anima
Mundi (Latin for soul of the world). Despite promised good and solid
power metal that would take the world by storm, their debut Sign of
Truth fell pretty flat on its face and virtually failed to accomplish
what such bold promotion suggested was visible in the band's crystal
ball. Luckily for Dionysus their latest issue stands up more strongly
when placed in comparison to that first achievement and is a considerably
more enjoyable affair.
Besides Hayer's contributions the other criterion of this band's sonical deliveries is absolutely the European melodic power metal with the strong guitar/keyboard colaborating neoclassic influences. Öhlin's 6-string maneuvering is on many occations very passionate and quite a few real inventive licks, riffs and fresh solos can be found throughout. Keyboarder Dahlqvist also throws in his share of interesting licks and some nice interchanges between these two instruments create some cool vibrant moments. Together with Hayer's vocals this entire sound landscape can be said to be a mixture of above all At Vance, Majestic and Luca Turilli but there's still enough individuality to last and also big portions of actual finesse.
Many choruses and bridges reach very infectious levels and especially in the cases when Hayer is supported by backing vocals the whole deal escalades to very pleasant heights. Many tracks are exposed by such enjoyable installments and have a very catchy singalong feel. The somewhat Manowar inspired metal anthem March of Freedom is a good tune of epic structure and besides not being the best composition on this disc, it will most certainly be a seriously huge crowd pleaser in a live situation. Other outings that put this affair in its prime are the tunes of more rapid character like the opening act Divine, the title track (which is available for a free download on the band's official site), Eyes of the World and Closer to the Sun. These must be considered to be the most memorable aces in the deck but the others (except the quite boring ballad Forever More) don't disappoint that much either.
To Dionysus' disadvantage though I am of the opinion that
they musically still feel a bit one-dimensional and disregarding of
the fact that the tracks aren't too indistinguishable from one another
there's still this tiny prevailing feeling of having heard the same
musical ideas almost from the start. Basically it's a bit too much of
that use and re-use way of composing and the concept feels a bit too
monotonous when the disc has stopped rotating. Neoclassic metal in normal
doses is also something easily digested for me but I think that Dionysus
have overstated that amount a little and delivered a bit too strong
an injection for my personal taste. And as a general aspect Dionysus
might even need to get a little more flesh on their bones in shape of
fattening inputs like heavier guitars and a more direct and powerful
approach to really hit it off.
See also review of: Sign Of Truth