Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn
Their last album was eight years ago, but Italian progressive metal band Odd Dimension are back with a new release. The quintet from Milan also has a new singer in their ranks. Joining them for this album is Jan Manenti (The Unity/ex Love.Might.Kill). “The Blue Dawn” is Sci-fi based concept album in the vein of Rush-2112 or some of the Ayreon albums. On the first listen, I couldn’t help thinking that parts of it sounded somewhat familiar. That is of course, because they been influenced by many bands. They have now used those influences to produce something remarkable.
The album tells the story of two space travelers: Markus and Eloise. The pair travel to the planet Axtradel to start a new civilisation. Before they can completely fulfill this task, they are invaded by a race called the Helidunians. Forced to escape their new home, they end up on an unknown world, which they name ‘The Blue Planet’. Here they struggle to live but hatch a plan to generate a new race. It’s imaginative stuff and involves a few characters who are played by band members and guests.
‘Mission n° 773’ is a short but stirring keyboard appetiser that acts as an instrumental launchpad into the main story. ‘Landing on Axtradel’ has a lively keyboard intro with an optimistic feel. The Guardian (Erik) – voiced by the band’s bass player Gigi Andreone can then be heard speaking. When he’s finished, Markus (Jan Manenti) takes over the story for the rest of the song.
As the story develops ’The Invasion’ sees the arrival of the afore-mentioned Helidunians. Like intergalactic Vikings they are bent on taking everything and the inhabitants of Axtradel are forced to defend themselves. This is a faster paced track with more of a sense of urgency. It features the characters Markus and Eloise (played by Aileen) and spoken word from the Guardian. There are time changes a plenty and Jan’s vocals occasionally bear a passing resemblance to Russell Allen.
Odd Dimension – The Invasion (click here if the video does not play)
A new character appears in ‘Escape to Blue Planet’ and he’s not pleased. The Ruler or Guarantor of the Destination (voiced by Damien Dell’Amico) admonishes the intrepid pair of adventurers. He threatens punishment for abandoning Axtradel. Markus and Eloise defend their decision and resign themselves to life on this new world. The track also features Daniela Caschetto on Cello, who gives the song a gentle start. This quickly turns into a powerful rock song with Jan showing off his vocal range. Halfway through it speeds up and has more of a prog-metal feel. It finishes at a slower pace with more cello.
Odd Dimension – Escape to Blue Planet (click here if the video does not play)
An interlude of calm and contemplation comes in ‘Solar Wind’. Cello and keyboards weave a melodic pattern in this short instrumental. It’s a beautiful little bridge to the next chapter of the story. The story becomes a little vague in ‘Life Creators’. The couple decide to create life from materials found on the planet. This conjures up an image from The Lord of the Rings, of the Uruk-hai emerging from the mud at Isengard. Joking aside, it’s a complex track with some nice vocal harmonies between Jan and Aileen.
There is a special guest appearance on ‘The Blue Dawn’. Tinkling the ivories on the title track, is ex Dream Theater man Derek Sherinian. There is plenty of time for him to tinkle as well, as the track is over ten minutes long. The members of the band also add their fair share of talent in this epic musical workout.
Aileen handles most of the singing in ‘Sands of Yazukia’ and does a damn-fine job as well. In this upbeat and powerfully delivered number they realise that they and their ‘sons’ are still in danger. They know that they must all work together to defeat the enemy and that hiding won’t save them. The feel of the music evokes a feeling of vastness and adventure. The vastness of the desert they are hiding in and of the space into which they are about to embark once-more.
With ‘Flags of Victory’ comes a change of pace, two new characters and two new singers. Eliana Parodi takes the role of Arabelle, the girl who felt in love. She is joined by Eristo, the cave worker played by ex-Labyrinth singer Roberto Tiranti. With a war inevitable comes hope for victory and a return to their former home world. Eliana brings a completely different vocal style to this track. The combination of her and Jan works well, and they sing the last few lines together. This is one of the standout tracks for me.
As the story comes to its final scene, the last track is ‘The Supreme Being’. A strident staccato riff eventually merges into a more melodic one. The Ruler is the only voice heard in this. He spells out the future of the race and speaks of the legion of workers that will emerge. “On and on, the line of blood, a line of Kings. Eternally, through time and space”.
Just like the story, with its twists and turns, we are taken through an ever-changing musical journey. You may interpret the story line differently, we all may have our own take on it, but one thing is for sure. You will enjoy trying, and on the way get to experience a great album. There are fabulous vocal performances all round and excellent musicianship from the band and guests. This is an absorbing 63 minutes and a little bit different from what you might expect from progressive metal.
Odd Dimension – The Blue Dawn [Full Album] (click here if the video does not play)
- Mission n° 773
- Landing on Axtradel
- The Invasion
- Escape to Blue Planet
- Solar Wind
- Life Creators
- The Blue Dawn
- Sands of Yazukia
- Flags of Victory
- The Supreme Being