Thursday, April 7

4th Dimension- The White Path to Rebirth

4th Dimension
White Path to Rebirth


Italy. Land of cheese, wine, tomatoes, pasta, and symphonic power metal. How can a country of this size possibly keep spawning so many bands, and can any more of them have anything to offer the already dizzying scene? Newcomers 4th Dimension clearly believe that the answer to this final question is a resounding yes, as they've packed together a debut album filled with reflections and influences of the past two decades. The White Path to Rebirth will not, with relative certainty, attract many new faces to its chosen sub genre, but it will give fans and veterans pause at what is an interesting and capable entry.

The music of this band is somewhat difficult to put one's finger on. Similar in ways (as is inevitably all Italian symphonic power) to Rhapsody, but without the drama, the dialogue, and the instrumental sections, 4th Dimension is breaking the mold in some small way. Lyrically and thematically, the band has perhaps more in common with Ukraine's very light-hearted Sunrise. Lead singer Andrea Bicego reminds me at times of Christian Bay of Freedom Call with his swooping and sliding antics.

The White Path to Rebirth mixes some great guitar leads, catchy vocal melodies, and better than average keyboard work to create some fantastically bright and atmospheric songs. This atmosphere is part of what makes the album unique and is established without question from song to song. Despite the undeniably different melodies and approaches taken throughout the album, 4th Dimension has a musical trademark on every composition.

My sole frustration with this album is the vocal work, which while suffering only slightly in the pronunciation department, is somewhat sloppy in other ways. Andrea Bicego likes to do the sort of spoken-singing at times that simply doesn't fit in to this style of music. Some vocal sections, especially in the choruses of several songs, seemed clipped and rushed, as if the singer didn't give the words his full attention. Whether this is the fault of English not being his primary language, or simply a unique habit, I do not know. I mentioned that Bicego reminds me of Christian Bay at times, and I don't mean this in a good way. His strange musical sighing (perhaps also think Andre Matos) would be well-served by being replaced with a stronger, more consistent, and smoother style of vocals. The music would gain a coherence and strength that it currently lacks.

Despite all of this, I find The White Path to Rebirth to be a very strong debut album. Some of the songs here are very unique and memorable. The sweet, serene strains of combined male and female vocals on "Everlasting" make it very distinctive and emotional, while the hard and driving "Sworn to the Flame" does almost everything right, and displays some real competence in penning songs that are strong and proficient, while allowing the double-bass assault to be an accent rather than a constant presence. We even get a guest appearance from who I believe to be the one and only Fabio Lione on "A New Dimension".

After some of the lackluster symphonic debuts lately, I'm rather pleased to say that I've found one that, while flawed, has captured my attention quite well. 4th Dimension has taken their time and crafted the best freshman effort that I've heard yet this year. Keep your eyes on this band; they're touring with Rhapsody of Fire as I type this, and look to have a bright future ahead of them.
- - -

The Protagonist's Rating: 7.75 out or 10

No comments: