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David Maxim Micic - Bilo 3.0 CD (album) cover

BILO 3.0

David Maxim Micic

Progressive Metal

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Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Bilo 3.0' - David Maxim Micic (8/10)

There may have been a period when progressive metal was silent. Although there lurked enough Dream Theater clones out there at one point to have me thinking the genre may have died out, the last few years have been host to an inspiring renaissance of prog metal. With his band Destiny Potato and a strong solo career of his own, Serbian multi-instrumentalist David Maxim Micic has been contributing in his own way to the progressive metal revival. Hearing about his recent opus Bilo 3.0 through the recommendations of a few kindred proggers, I can't help but to forward the recommendation along; to anyone with a vested interest in the current state of progressive metal, David Maxim Micic deserves to be heard. Well composed, arranged and wonderfully performed, Bilo 3.0 is an ambitious piece of largely instrumental prog metal, with more than enough epic ideas to keep a listener engaged and attentive.

I was reminded of Devin Townsend's solo material many times throughout Bilo 3.0, an artist to whom Micic owes a great deal of his sound and style. "Where is Now?" has an epic central theme that sounds like it could have been inspired by Devin's Accelerated Evolution or the more recent Epicloud album. Some of Micic's most cinematic movements on the album have that same 'wall-of-sound' ambiance that Townsend is so famous for. Much more than mere emulation however, Micic does here what Jari Mäenpää of Wintersun achieved with Time I, that being the taking of ingredients first trademarked by Devy himself, and orchestrating them in new and inventive ways. For one, Bilo 3.0 capitalizes on jazz fusion much more than anything you'll hear from Townsend, and there are many points on the record that draw upon instrumental rock tradition a la Satriani. Many of Micic influences are readily apparent in the music: a prog metal lick on "Smile" instantly recalls Cynic, melodic jazz guitar on "Nostalgia" might be inspired by Pat Metheny, and the much-familiar presence of 'djenty' rhythmic explorations demonstrate an ample knowledge of contemporary progressive metal.

Suffice to say, there is more than enough of a variety to keep the music from sounding stale or rehashed. Although Micic's true calling lies in melody-driven progressive metal guitar, the stylistic curveballs here are fully-realized and sound great. "Everything's Fine"- the album's gentle opener- is an excellent example of Micic's skill as a multi-faceted composer. Jazz- tinged piano and a haunting string section weave together to sound like something plucked from a film score. With that being said, there is a very cinematic feel to Bilo 3.0, not surprising given Micic's background as a composer for TV and film. Although each track feels well-realized, Micic definitely feels more like a composer of strong ideas, rather than a songwriter. With the exception of the near-perfectly written introductory track, each composition on Bilo 3.0 is memorable for their stand-out moments, rather than the track as a whole. Song structures seem arranged to cater to a string of individually satisfying moments, as opposed to the ideas all contributing to the overall whole of a composition. Even in the most ambitious progressive metal epics, I tend to look for some of the same qualities found in conventionally good songwriting; effective repetition, moderation, and the impression that a composition has been designed with the wholesome end result in mind. This is not to say that Micic's work is rhapsodic or even structurally unsuccessful, but it does feel like the compositions bite off more than they can effectively chew. "Smile" is the worst offender of this, trying to include everything from Townsend-friendly playfulness, virtuosic guitar soloing, djenty rhythms, growls, operatic wailing, fusion licks and everything in between. I know it's a pretty common tactic in progressive music to draw upon such a wide variety, but I'm left with the impression that some of the ideas on Bilo 3.0- the operatic break on "Smile" and a child's off-key crooning on "Daydreamers" particularly- could have been left out, or at least rearranged so that they better compliment the flow of the compositions they're part of.

Especially on an album as instrumentally-driven as this, no review of Bilo 3.0 could go without mention of the musicianship and technical skill. Obviously, much of the spotlight is placed on Micic's prodigious grasp of the electric guitar. Although the album's djenty side doesn't stand any bit above what we've already heard from that corner of prog metal, Micic makes himself out to be an absolutely brilliant jazz fusion guitarist, possibly one of the best I've heard. "Nostalgia" might be my favourite trackon the album for this very reason; Micic's marriage of keen instrumental wandering and tight melodic passages is gorgeous, easily rivaling similar-sounding tunes by Satch or Metheny. While I'm sure many listeners will have found out about David Maxim Micic via Jeff Loomis' presence on the album as a guest soloist on "Smile", I honestly can't say that Loomis plays anything here that couldn't have been easily conquered by David himself. However, this is more of a compliment to Micic's own skill as a guitarist than Loomis' solo, which is just as expressive and technical as I've come to expect from him. Micic excels as a shredder, jazz player and writer of melodies; there doesn't appear to be any aspect of the electric guitar that eludes him. Having Loomis guest star on an album is good reason to get excited about it however, and if his appearance earns Micic more listeners, then all the better.

Bilo 3.0 is an album packed with instrumental inventiveness and technical proficiency. David Maxim Micic excels here both as a composer and musician, and he's surrounded himself with a talented cast of musicians to help him bring his dream to life. For all of its musical high points, Bilo 3.0 still feels a little rough and patchy with the way songs are structured. Like so many talented solo artists, Micic is burdened by overambition, wanting to tackle too many different ideas without the time to give them all their due. I have no doubt that we'll only hear Micic improve with time however, and if Bilo 3.0 is to be a sign of even greater things in the future, then there's no doubt I'll stay tuned in to hear what he does next.

Report this review (#1082000)
Posted Tuesday, November 26, 2013 | Review Permalink
5 stars How is that and almost unknown guy in Serbia became one of my favorite artists? It might be because of Bilo 3.0's awesomeness. I had already heard David's both previous EPs and they were quit impressive, but it wasn't until this record was released that I realized how creative and smart is this guy: he plays, mixes and distributes his music, all by himself. And he's very good at all of them.

How to explain David's style? It's like a blend of Devin Townsend, Arch Enemy, Dream Theater, The Mars Volta and lot of different influences. It has some djent and math rock, but without loosing the feelings; it has some prog metal, but nothing like the holy trinity (Dream Theater, Fates Warning and Queensryche - not Rush); it has lots of experimentation, though, but the "weird" things are so awesomely well done that it just feels natural. His songs are mostly instrumental, but has some great guest singers from time to time, like Vladimir Lalic and Aleksandra Djelmas. He also loves to put lots of motifs from older songs, so if you've heard his previous works, you'll be quite pleased.

On Bilo 3.0 we can find lots of great moments. "Everything's Fine" is just a calm, acoustic and beautiful opener, with some oriental violins, while "Where is Now?" opens with a sweet piano, just to explode in a magnificent way. This track has lots of motifs, either from previous records and from the following songs. I think it's a perfect example of David's diversity, as it shows most of his elements withouth loosing the flow. "Smile" is a really interesting track, as it varies the mood so many times and even manages to include female growls - It may drag a bit on the middle, though. "Nostalgia" is an intense instrumental song, with lots of bad-ass riffs and passages. Personally, my fav track on the album (and of David's music) is the 5th track, "Wrinkle Maze". The first half is a beautiful piano-driven section, with some lovely violins - the last part is, just... epic. You have to listen it, I don't want to spoil you what happens. The closer, "Daydreamers" closes perfectly a stunning record, with an excellent performance by Vladimir Lalic.

The great thing about this record is that is has passed my 3 personal tests of quality for any album: originality, memorable and timeless. That's for any genre, and all of my fav records have surpassed these points - now let me explain them. David's music, as I explained above, it's an unique blend of different prog and non-prog influences - that's what makes this album so unique: I've never heard anything like this, ever. And the best thing is that it's done with such great musicianship that I can't believe David only has 24 years! Each song is unique, with lots of great moments that make me hard to think of bad ones (they exist, of course). The epicness of "Wrinkle Maze", the insanity of "Smile", the sweetness of "Everything's Fine" - although it can be hard to digest, it has such a variety and epic moments, totally worthables. About the timeless point, it can be quite difficult to determine at the time of this writing, but I feel like Bilo 3.0 is one of those records that you love more with each listen -it's been doing that since I first listened it on December last year- and that will stay among my favorites for a very long time.

But no everything that shines it's gold. If you dislike djent and math rock that bands like Messugah do, or if seven string guitars aren't your cup of tea, you may not enjoy half of this album. If the song is over when a growl starts, you may want to skip "Smile". You just want to head-bang till your neck brakes? To sing along a catchy chorus? Then stay away from this record. I hate to say it (because it sounds elitist) but this is a smart album for smart listeners - or at least open-minded people. This may look like a very positive review, and it is, indeed, because it's really difficult for me to find flaws on this record. One of those might be that the album drags a bit on "Smile"s middle section and on Nostalgia, but in general it has an excellent flow.

David Maxim Micic may not be well known on the prog scene but I have no doubt that his future career seems brilliant. With his band Destiny Potato, he's destined to become a great musician - as if he wasn't already. About Bilo 3.0, I think it will stand the pass of time and will be seen as David's creativity peak, because I don't believe he'll ever surpass this level of musicianship. Maybe Bilo 4.0 will make me eat my words.

Report this review (#1191600)
Posted Thursday, June 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Serbian gent guitar Player David Maxim Micic Gent is a guitar with height cord with the high pitch bass cord on top and the low pitch bass cord on the bottom that why you have this sound witch I truly enjoy Extremely rich and profound sound. this style of progressive is the less perform There are still some more of this a great gent guitar is expensive but it create a new sound and with talented player its just very good I mostly have everything good in that style (looking for hard to find music [email protected] ) contact me for more gent if you like this and enjoy Pierre
Report this review (#1304646)
Posted Wednesday, November 12, 2014 | Review Permalink
5 stars Continuing in the vein of succinct, poorly written reviews... (Not feeling too very clever, nor too very verbose tonight...)

But, seeing that I've neglected to rate or review Bilo 3.0.. I knew I had to correct this immediately...

I have a very, very special affinity towards the music of David Maxim Micic, and thus, my opinions and reviews will of necessity be coloured quite favorably. Of course, I think this is an epic, MONSTER MASTERPIECE!!!

With his compositional and playing skills, and the assortment of talent assebled around David for this album (especially the vocal talents of Aleksandra Radosavljevic and Aleksandra Djelmas, and the startling, blazing guest guitar solos from Jakub Zytecki, Per Nilsson and Jeff Loomis - And this is no way should be construed to give the impression that the contributions of the other guests on this release are in any way inferior to the aforementioned contributors) this EP couldn't help but be a full-blown five star extravaganza in my opinion! I simply love this release! Highly, highly HIGHLY recommended! 5 out of 5 on the progarchives score chart. 7000 out of five on my personal chart. As always, your mileage may vary...

Grace and peace, Cylli Kat

Report this review (#1470871)
Posted Tuesday, September 29, 2015 | Review Permalink

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