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Dice - Within vs. Without Next Part CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.93 | 22 ratings

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4 stars German prog, be it Krautrock or the country's own brand of symphonic progressive rock, is often accused of coldness and general lack of emotion. While some of these charges are valid, particularly when one thinks of KRAFTWERK or NEU!, and even some aspects of the more melodically oriented groups like ELOY or RAMSES, in the case of DICE the theorem breaks down mightily, especially on this the second installment of their Without/Within trilogy. Here we find more real romance and comfort both in the lyrics and arrangements than can rightly be expected on the pop charts let alone in a genre known more for pyrotechnics. But please don't assume the instrumental fireworks are toned down, because they are not, in the least.

Virtually every track oozes warmth and soft colours, such that it is hard to pick out highlights on that basis. Even a glance at the titles reveals a philosophical and poetic inspiration, from the Italian symphonic inspired "More Worth than Gold" to the fantasy-laden "Ladder of Dreams" to the rousing vocal harmonies of "So Asked the Moon". Even when they pay homage to themselves as in "Dice Cosmic Blues", the blend of inspired lead guitar and keyboards is the stuff of nights in the hot tub under the full moon. "The Same Shadows" is a simple plea for greater awareness of our similarities as people, and the chorus is catchy even for DICE, with Nove in fine voice throughout. He also contributes plenty of mellotron strings without stealing the show from Henry Zschelletzschky and the guitars of Peter Viertel and his replacement Yugenji (who fits like a glove).

"In this life" and the reprise of "Without and Within" are the album's weak moments but they show plenty of strength especially in the former, which provides a valid counterpoint to the generally romantic melodies elsewhere. I just prefer the more textured and "lighter" DICE sound, if you will.

This is space rock for those who pine for home wherever one may be relative to that elusive place. It is music of the soul, mind and heart, and one of this group's as well as German prog's strongest efforts. 4.5 stars.

kenethlevine | 4/5 |


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