Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Dice - Versus Without Versus - End Part CD (album) cover



Crossover Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
Prog-Folk Team
4 stars A quick glance at the track list of this, the final installment of the "Within/Without" trilogy, suggests that DICE has herein forsaken the relatively simple and direct themes of Part 2 for a more involved approach. While this inference is based on track lengths, none of which (apart from the final reprise of the trilogy theme) clocks in much below 10 minutes, in reality the overall sound of the group has not changed much. Even the addition of skilled flute/sax player Jens Lubeck merely colours the generally mellow and rich space rock, adding perhaps half a dimension to their sound rather than engendering a sea change.

The anchor for this ambitious undertaking is the 23 minute "Hold the Spirit", which offers so much more than quantity. While I personally have been convinced of the group's skill and adventurousness, this track has the capacity to silence those more demanding listeners. It giddily floats from vocal theme to instrumental theme, using hooks to enhance rather than signify its pedigree, nearly establishing a genre in the process. More than anything in the DICE discography, "Hold the Spirit" sets the group apart in progressive rock for their own style and for their beguiling range of influences both modern and classic. The flute dominated section in the latter part is particularly worthy of mention for its dancing quality, and Alex Klimentov, dedicated to the use of acoustic guitar, adds a more organic quality to some of the relaxed atmospheres.

The album's opener "Who Inflames the Universe Tonight", is a more typical offering but includes fine sax and mellotron. As we have heard before from DICE, we can detect a certain gentle swing like affect. The Moody Blues' "The Other Side of Life" might be a good comparison as a starting point, although here we find much more expansive soloing by the returning Peter Viertel. "Secret Sun" is another fine wind-enhanced song with the most catchy chorus but also cool diversions that remind me of circus music, and Nove's talking on tune style. Both Viertel and Nove (who now handles keyboards and bass), shine in their melodic soloing to set the spine a tingling. Nove seems to deploy the mellotron heavily as a background for fluid guitars and flutes. While "When Darkness Comes" is somewhat less captivating, the final curtain on the main theme manages to impress more than usual perhaps because it is slowed down and some plaintive brass is added.

Not much to complain about here. While the first installment of the trilogy had me worried that the group was going to fold into the neo prog morasse, I needn't have been concerned. Right now, I wouldn't want to pit anyone else versus Christian Nove's group.

Report this review (#207729)
Posted Wednesday, March 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Tarcisio Moura
4 stars Dice is a german band with a very long story and quite a big discography. Only recently I found out about this group and Versus is my first entry into their sound. Their music is very hard to define. It is at the same time quite familiar and yet original. Pehaps I should have asked KennethLevine for counseling? Well, it is obvious that they are influenced by the 70īs space rock german craze. But there is a lot more into it. There is a retro, symphonic feeling, doubtless helped by the extensive use of mellotron and other vintage sounding instruments. On the other hand, the production and recording techniques are very modern, with all the instrumentation and vocals very well balanced and clean. The result is an excellent exemple of good prog that mixes very well the old and the new.

I must say it didnīt grab me at first. The opener, Who Inflames The Universe Tonight? and the second track When The Darkness Comes took a long time to sink in. And still I donīt think they are the best ones in this CD. They are very good, ok, but there are better things on the record. However, from the third track on everything just clicks! The highlight of the album is the long and excellent 23 minute epic Hold The Spirit: an amazing roller coaster of great melodies, shifting rhythms and moods, terrific solos and perfect arranged instrumentation that gives you the impression that this tune is quite short, really. Secret Sun is another fine example of this group greatness, specially the second part.

All the musicians are very good. I found Jens Lubeckīs sax playing is a bit cliche, but his flute is just amazingly beautiful. Thre are few guitar solos but in general I liked the guitar work on this album a lot. Leader and vocalist Christian Nove handles all the bass and keyboards duties this time and he does a very good job on them. His voice is not one of the greatest on earth, but his emotional interpretation is quite strong and convincing. It fits well into this kind of music I guess.

Conclusion: it took me quite some time to fully digest and enjoy this album, but it was worth it. it also made me curious about their previous (and latter) releases. if you like space rock with good melodies and excellent modern production then you should not miss this one. A very interesting band indeed! 4 stars.

Report this review (#294136)
Posted Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | Review Permalink

DICE Versus Without Versus - End Part ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of DICE Versus Without Versus - End Part

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.