October 7, 2020

The Italian progressive metal rock band DGM was formed back in 1994 and I actually remember buying the debut album, Change Direction, in 1998 and being rather impressed with them and I thought at the time that they had some work to do to become the finished article but I was certain that they had everything in place to develop into a top class metal band. I liked the name too being the initials of the founding musicians Diego (Reali), Gianfranco (Tassella) and Maurizio (Pariotti) and it is pleasing that over 20 years later the band has become the wonderful progressive metal band that they wanted to be and I thought they would become. The only sad part though is that Diego, Gianfranco and Maurizio are no longer with the band and, indeed, none of the original five musicians remain but it is the music that truly counts and on that then the ‘new’ DGM has emerged triumphant.

Photo: Matteo Ermeti

Tragic Separation is album number ten and has been eagerly anticipated since it is now four years since the imperious The Passage was released. So, the band has developed and progressed and made the necessary changes to become the band it now is and it is fair to say that DGM has become one of the leading lights in the progressive metal movement and have definitely earned the right to stand shoulder to shoulder with the giants in Dream Theater, Symphony X, Shadow Gallery, Fates Warning and Queensryche. As a fan of prog metal it is brilliant to see these ‘new’ (and I use new in the broadest sense of the word) bands coming along and challenging the old guard and with bands like Vanden Plas, Threshold, Rhodium, Redemption, Theocracy etc then we have a true wealth of talent at our disposal.

These days, the band comprises of Marco Basile on vocals, Simone Mularoni on guitar, Andrea Arcangeli on bass, Emanuele Casali on keyboards and Fabio Costantino on drums and they have a least been together for a good few years so this is no mere ‘shadow’ DGM. Indeed, Costantino goes back to 1999, Arcangeli to 2003 with Mularoni and Casali joining in 2006 and the final link being the new (and third) singer Basile joining in 2008. This has allowed them to grow and develop together into the mighty band that DGM is now. Vocalist Marco Basile again shows his immense power and range with his perfectly delivered English vocals and if you are looking for a phenomenal display of technical guitar prowess then you need look no further that the mercurial Simone Mularoni who is undoubtedly one of the greatest metal guitarists on the planet. You may also have sampled his work with Empyrios, Lalu, Lione/Conti and, if not already, then you should also listen to the Sunstorm albums with Joe Lynn Turner and the Sweet Oblivion album with Geoff Tate and these will also go a long way to show that we are in the presence of someone special. The powerhouse pairing of Andrea Arcangeli (bass) and Fabio Costantino (drums) keep everything screaming along in fine fashion with the keyboards of Emanuele Casali being such an integral part of the band’s sound either when he is supplying the rich and lush background soundscapes or mazy keyboard runs. Again, the songs are of the highest order with the album having a theme or, concept if you wish, about the life paths we take, the choices we make and the consequences we then have to face. If you do not want to buy into the concept then simply concentrate on the outstanding music and it is truly thrilling and uncompromising progressive metal at its best. Superb vocals and a stunning guitar performance allied with supreme technical dexterity and amazingly rich choruses make this the best DGM album by far and a class leading progressive metal standard bearer, a truly wonderful release.

I hesitate to say album of the year as there are still a few months to go but it is going to be up there in the shakedown. Just go out a buy it, you know it makes sense.

Tragic Separation track list

  1. Flesh And Blood (7:35)
  2. Surrender (5:41)
  3. Fate (5:47)
  4. Hope (5:26)
  5. Tragic Separation (7:38)
  6. Stranded (5:36)
  7. Land Of Sorrow (5:05)
  8. Silence (5:55)
  9. Turn Back Time (5:45)
  10. Curtain (2:20)