Dimension Act -
Manifestation Of Progress

(CD 2012, 54:57, Progrock Records PRR119)

The tracks:
  1- Cosmic Chaos(5:10)
  2- Industrial Evilution(9:51)
  3- Uncharted Waters(8:19)
Perspectives Chapter 1
  4- Drawing The Lines Of Mortal Existence(31:38)
         -   I: Pre-spective(8:12)
         -   II: Transparent Reality(2:37)
         -   III: Illusion(3:34)
         -   IV: Counterparts(4:47)
         -  V: The Battle Within(3:48)
         -  VI: A Different Perspective(8:39)

Dimension Act Website        ProgRock Records

It took the Norwegian melodic progressive metal outfit Dimension Act almost four years to write and record their debut album Manifestation Of Progress. Knowing that, I wondered whether it was worthwhile spending so much time to create an album or not. After listening to this album several times I guess it was all worth the time, because Tom-Vidar Salangli (lead and backing vocals), Marius Nilsen (electric and acoustic guitars, additional keyboards), Kristian Berg (keyboards), Tommy Granli (bass guitars) and Frank Nordeng Rĝe (drums) recorded a very professional product.

While listening to Manifestation Of Progress I noticed that they were inspired by bands as Symphony X, Dream Theater, Evergrey, Kamelot, Pagan's Mind and Ayreon. The press information states that 'the sonic appearance of this album would surely appeal to fans of both progressive and melodic metal.' Well, I can fully agree with that statement, although the first three songs Cosmic Chaos, Industrial Evilution and Uncharted Waters are rather aggressive with a solid portion of double bass drumming. These songs will surely please metal heads more than prog heads, but the latter group will find enough tunes that are worthwhile listening to as well. The musicians are skilled enough to serve both genres especially when the keyboard player gets enough room to show his talents. Sometimes he plays very calm on the piano; at other times he performs fantastic solos on the synthesizers.

I guess that the first three tracks are just an appetizer for Perspectives Chapter 1 Drawing The Lines Of Mortal Existence, the absolute highlight on this record. This epic piece shows in many ways what these musicians are capable of. This track has been divided into six parts that have so much to offer that it's hard to describe what happens during this half an hour piece of music. The music flows from up-tempo parts to mellower passages and vice versa. It would explain a lot if I say: Dream Theater eat your heart out! On this piece it seems as if Mike Portnoy plays the drums and Jordan Rudess plays the keyboards. Only this time singer James LaBrie has been replaced by Russell Allen from Symphony X. A special mention goes to Live Foyn Friis. She did some additional lead and backing vocals on part II Transparent Reality and on part VI A Different Perspective. With her voice she lifted this piece to a high level making this track the ultimate highlight of this album. She even made me decide to give the album a higher rating!

Not only music wise everything's well put together, but also lyrically. The album deals with existential and philosophical matters. It's not a concept album par excellence yet all the lyrics have a common theme: mankind's never ending search for a perfect existence, but not really knowing how to realize it. All musicians delivered outstanding performances, but I have to mention one in particular. Marius Nilsen obviously is the driving force behind Dimension Act. He was responsable for all of the compositions; he shared most of the lyrics with singer Tom Vidar Salangli and he did both the arrangements and the production.

Manifestation Of Progress is highly recommended to all fans of the above-mentioned bands. On growing more experienced in the future I'm sure they will release a true masterpiece that can compete with albums as Images And Words and Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from A Memory. I guess what When Dream And Day Unite was for Dream Theater, might be Manifestation Of Progress for Dimension Act.

**** Henri Strik (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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