4th Dimension – Dispelling The Veil Of Illusion
Reviewed by Kevin Hathaway
Oh boy, another Italian power metal album… Given the trend as of late, this is probably going to be either completely putrid or a pleasant surprise. Well, this is 4th Dimension’s sophomore album, the follow-up to 2011’s The White Path To Rebirth, an album that was so Rhapsody-esque that they had to get Fabio Lione to do a guest spot on the album. This happened to be right around the time where Fabio started to not give a shit who he did a guest appearance for, no matter how underutilized he was or how horrible an album it was *glares at Astral Domine*.
But enough about my quickly declining appreciation of Fabio Lione! How does Dispelling The Veil Of Illusion fare against 4th Dimension’s forgettable debut? For starters, this album is mercifully shorter than The White Path To Rebirth, solving the previous problem the band had, with many songs being overlong. Most of the tracks here hover in the 4 minute range, and the total running time is just shy of 40 minutes. The Rhapsody influence has also died down considerably in favor of…electronica? I’ll get back to that a little later. Singer Andrea Bicego still channels a bit of his inner Lione, but he’s developed a bit more of an identity of his own on this album. In fact, his voice kind of reminds me of the singer of Brazilian one-album-wonder Silent Moon when he reaches his higher register. The rhythm section gets the job done, providing an adequate backbone for this heavily keyboard-driven music, but doesn’t seem to do much more than that. Double-bass, simple but chunky guitar riffs and chords, inaudible bass guitar, you know the drill.
The real star of the show here is obviously the keyboards, which hit all kinds of funky tones across this album, and typically flirt with electronica influences not unlike those heard in Machinae Supremacy and Synthphonia Suprema. “Quantum Leap” (which, for the record, has been stuck in my head all friggin’ week while doing this review) is probably the best example of how 4th Dimension employs these influences right, but other times, like in “ExtraWorld,” the keyboards are really obnoxious and distracting. It’s like the keyboardist wanted to try out every single effect on his console for this album. “Ooh, let’s try this one! Hehehe, that’s awesome! What’s this one do?!” “Quantum Leap” thankfully takes one main keyboard line and, for the most part at least, sticks with it to produce a bouncy, more heavily synthesized version of a Keepers-era Helloween tune. It’s the most focused song on the album, not to mention the catchiest (see previous set of parentheses). The other songs are all over the place, though. I want to like the experimental keyboard sounds but they’re just too frequent and without rhyme or reason.
Dispelling The Veil Of Illusion is at least a step in the right direction after the terribly mediocre The White Path To Rebirth. The band is developing its own identity and breaking away from the all-too-typical Rhapsody influence, but there is still work to be done. Namely: getting the keyboardist to calm down with his effects. The lack of focus will probably have listeners moving on quickly, but there are a couple decent and infectiously catchy songs to be found here (somebody tell “Quantum Leap” to get out of my head, please); nothing earth-shatteringly profound, but Dispelling is harmless, fluffy fun.