|Review: The Dogma - Black Roses|
Label: Drakkar Entertainment
Year released: 2006
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 31, 2009
Reviewed by: Larry Griffin
The Dogma play on this album a heavy, guitar-centric style of Power Metal with a heavy dose of innovation sprinkled over it. They have a sleek, polished sound that still makes me surprised that this is a debut, with the riffs and harmonies layered over with some symphonic effects and a generally dreary, slightly Gothic mood for most of these songs that makes this band kind of sound like Kamelot's bigger, meaner step-brother, as the bands have a similar refined and classy sort of sound, although honestly even that is a stretch. Nobody else sounds like The Dogma. I especially like their guitar tone, as it's just stellar; big, heavy and smooth, with this silky, shimmering sheen over it that makes it sound as cold as ice, and perfect for the gloomy atmosphere present. They also have a great ear for melody and hooks, as even though the album may sound dense and unfriendly at first, its frigid choruses and frosty guitar acrobatics will never come out of your head. I could point out standout hooks, but all of them are good, so there is no real point. Daniele Santori has a thick and yet delicate voice, and while he may be more at home crooning out Hard Rock songs on the follow up to this album, he sounds far better doing the eclectic and high-class style present on Black Roses.
The Dogma are ace songwriters, with not a moment on this album feeling wasted or contrived at all. Every song is full of snappy, mature and intelligent writing that still remains entirely enjoyable and fun at the same time, due to the sticky hooks present. That just brings me back to what I said before about being surprised that this was a debut. I'm not, as I had the notion to look at Metal-Archives before hearing this, but if I had just randomly downloaded it, I would have placed Black Roses as perhaps being the band's third or fourth album. This even sounds better than what most veteran Power Metal bands are doing these days. Just because you're famous *coughGammaRaycough* doesn't mean you *coughFreedomCallcough* don't have to try *coughNocturnalRitescough*, and here we have proof of that with a brand new band putting out better material than any of those has-beens with what sounds like relative ease, but is actually just very impressive songwriting. Songs like the title track, with that killer choir singing at the end that fades masterfully into the wistful piano section, the heavy, careening melodic firestorm of "Queen of the Damned," with its hammering riffs and catchy chorus, the ulta-melodic "...And Julie No More," which is as charming and poignant as a radio-friendly rocker can be (although this one still showcases a high level of songwriting), "Ghosts of War" with its militaristic pace and huge, anthemic choirs, and album stand-out "Temptation," which overwhelms the listener with an epic stomp like no other. And I just named half the fucking track-list.
This is just a really good album. The Dogma's sophomore effort would be a different matter entirely, but here, they just fucking aced everything, right in the hole. These guys have a new album hopefully coming out this year, so hurry up and buy this album right now and support an unknown band in their quest, because some guy on the internet said so.
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