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Dali's Dilemma - Manifesto for Futurism CD (album) cover

MANIFESTO FOR FUTURISM

Dali's Dilemma

 

Progressive Metal

3.19 | 78 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
3 stars The 90s was a wonderful time for alternative everything and progressive rock revival but in addition to bands rekindling the 70s golden age prog embers was also some highly innovative bands that took the prog of the 70s in a more energetic direction by fusing it with the metal of the 80s. A whole new hybrid that started way back in the 80s with Watchtower had finally caught on and when Dream Theater released their lauded "Images And Words." The world would never be the same. Of course when such a phenomenon occurs it means the floodgates have been opened and a gazillion imitators will follow. Not that it's a bad thing mind you as DT influenced bands such as Symphony X, Circus Maximus, Haken, Shadow Gallery, Seventh Wonder, Threshold (and i could go on all day really) were actually quite innovative despite being first descendants from DT's 90s day in the sun.

But then there are the band's that attempted to follow in the footsteps of the great Dream Theater and fell short. DALI'S DILEMMA formed in San Jose, CA and existed from 1994-2000 but only managed to release one album titled MANIFESTO FOR FUTURISM in 1999 before they instantly got smacked down with the dreaded "Dream Theater clone" tag which after prog metal really got rolling was something like the kiss of death for bands with thin skin. While there is certainly some truth to those claims, DALI'S DILEMMA wasn't just a clone by any means but were in fact a very talented group of musicians that showed great promise. I mean if you dig back far enough Fates Warning was basically an Iron Maiden clone on its first album before stepping it up and becoming one of the best and most interesting prog metal bands of the 90s so you know, sometimes it takes a while to get your own groove goin' on. Unfortunately DALI'S DILEMMA didn't.

Oh well. Despite it all this album of just over 51 minutes certainly does bow at the alter of Dream Theater without a doubt however this prog powerhouse of Matthew Bradley (vocals), Patrick Reyes (guitar), Steve Reyes (bass), Matt Guillory (keyboards) band Jeremy Colson (drums) did a fairly decent job of mixing in the early years of Dream Theater (think "Images And Words" compositions with more of an "Awake" energetic level) with other classic sounds that ranged from Rush, Deep Purple, Fates Warning and even thrash metal bands like Metallica. This is one of those technically demanding prog metal releases where the musicians excel at detouring from time signature norms and craft catchy melodic hooks as well as keeping things interesting with various motifs that allow the music to proceed without stagnating. In that regard, MANIFESTO FOR FUTURISM is an outstanding album which clearly owes its primary inspiration to Dream Theater's 90s output but by no means sounds like just another DT release.

Unfortunately for my ears at least, the weakest link in this otherwise stellar performance are the rather undistinguished vocal range of Matthew Bradley who pretty much breaks this album's enjoyment level for me. Like many prog metal vocalists, he was trying to copy Steve Walsh from Kansas. While i'm forgiving with vocal abilities at times, when it comes to prog metal that focuses on an extremely technically demanding dynamic then i'm sorry but a vocalist with a multi-octave range is essential! There's a reason Bob Dylan wasn't asked to sing on a Queensryche or Fates Warning album, cuz he ain't got the goods! Now Bradley certainly is gifted in a certain way but his vocals just don't sound right here. Add to that the album is lopsided with lots of filler that is just plain yawn material. "Hills Of Memory" is particularly gag worthy. In general the album starts out fairly decent but then descends into snooze-ville. Add to that the over dependence of DT-isms and you end up with a decent yet unremarkable album. It's too bad DALI'S DILEMMA didn't stick it out but i guess they decided that the best way to solve this DILEMMA was to end this project and scatter.

siLLy puPPy | 3/5 |

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