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Dredg - Leitmotif CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.28 | 103 ratings

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3 stars Dredg - Leitmotif

Dredg's debut album, Leitmotif, is certainly an album to be proud of. The album features a rough-hewn sound that Dredg has yet to revisit in their later career, and, thus, is quite a unique product in the Dredg catalogue. The album, musically and lyrically, tells a lofty tale (I can't even begin to describe it, as the storybook that comes in the album sleeve is very long), which is represented through vivid musical accounts as surreal in their imagery as they are powerful in their impact.

Before we dig into the album itself, I'd like to point out that, while the album is very good, it carries some of the most evident flaws in an album that I've ever heard. The production is not very good, but that matters little, as it's the mixing that really fails here; Gavin's vocals are sometimes nearly indistinguishable below the hissing cacophony of distorted power chords and frantically loud drumming. The lofty story involved is hardly portrayed well in the lyrics, which even if they were, could hardly be heard under the wall of noise that is typically found on the album.

Still, despite these flaws, the album is one of a kind, and certainly very good--definitely the most visceral album the band has created, but not nearly as musically or lyrically interesting as their follow up, El Cielo, which is, of course, an absolutely essential album.

Now the music:

The album begins with some swirling noise that gives way to a powerful opener in "Symbol Song", which resembles "Kayasuma" from their preceding Orph EP, but with better production and a much better riff driving it. This song is one of the highlights of the album without a doubt, and certainly will be a song that sticks with you for a while after listening. The album's intermission pieces, or "Movements" as they are titled here, are typically nice, though nothing near as strong or moving as the "Brushstrokes" on El Cielo. They neither make nor break the album, but they do help it to flow along.

Many of the songs featured on the album are almost completely instrumental, with only howls and screams from Gavin over top of the vortex of music below, which helps again in establishing this album's unique, surreal tone.

There are a couple of other highlight tracks in "Penguins in the Desert" and "Yatahaze" (which are basically the only other "real" songs on this album minus the opener and the first half of the "Intermission" track), which features driving riffs and great, motional vocals throughout. The final track is something of a let down, as it starts beautifully, but then flickers off into nothingness for several minutes before about 10 minutes of obnoxious noise takes over and ends this album on a rather bittersweet note.

Still, a great debut from a band that surely shows much potential (despite the rather disappointing Catch Without Arms). Leitmotif easily scores around a 7.5 for me, which, I hate to say, cannot earn more than 3 stars on this site, due to its highly evident flaws and unprofessionally handled ending. A great album to be had by any Dredg fan, for sure.

Figglesnout | 3/5 |


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