Artist: DGM

Album Title: Tragic Separation

Label: Frontiers Records

Date of Release: 9 October 2020

We can’t all like every band, can we? And that’s why I feel comfortable when I admit to never really ‘getting’ DGM. I always checked out their material, but have never fallen head over heels for their brand of melodic metal with progressive tendencies. And yet, here we are with another album and here I am checking it out in the hope that I like it. I want to like every band and every album (even Metallica’s ‘St Anger’, or any of Korn or Tool’s output) but it isn’t physically possible. Even the Man Of Much Metal has had to admit defeat in this regard, however hard it may be to do so. But…but…as I listen to ‘Tragic Separation’, is it possible that I am changing my mind about DGM?

No. It isn’t. I’m not changing my mind, I’m having it removed and replaced with a brand new mind that absolutely loves DGM. This album is insane. Combining the very best elements from melodic metal, hard rock, AOR, and progressive metal, the Italians have finally hit me squarely in the sweet spot. It’s a heady, breathless ride, one that I am loving more than I ever thought possible if I’m honest.

Right out of the gate, the quintet wastes no time in grabbing my undivided attention, with the monstrous anthem ‘Flesh And Blood’. After a short intro, it bursts out of the speakers with an urgent, churning riff and strong rhythms before opening up into a gargantuan, epic melody that stops me in my tracks each time I hear it. But it’s only a taster of what’s to come because quickly, the song reverts to a vibrant and energetic classic style progressive riff, reminiscent of recent Symphony X to my ears. Marco Basile has a soulful and commanding voice, injecting drama and sincerity into the song. The chorus is something that any hard rock band would be proud of, hook laden and incredibly memorable. With forays into technical instrumental realms, as well as some killer solos, both guitar and synth, this is the kind of melodic prog that plants a giant goofy grin on my face. What a song to open up with.

Given the quality of the opener, you’d be nervous that perhaps the remainder of the album wouldn’t live up to the promise. And whilst a couple of the ten songs may not reach the same heady heights, the quality is remarkably consistent as far as I am concerned.

‘Surrender’ starts with a cheeky guitar/bass combo and injects all the swagger that you could possibly want. Gentle synths inject some atmosphere, but the winner here is the utterly fantastic AOR-heavy chorus. It’s so damn effortless and the chorus feels like it floats on air. The progressive nature of DGM is dialled down on this track in favour of all-out melody, but there’s enough technicality on offer to ensure that the song remains interesting throughout.

I feel that I might become a broken record within this review, as we’re only three songs in and I’ve referred to killer melodies and choruses three times as well. But ‘Fate’ delivers on this front too, whilst dialling up the progressive tendencies once again. The chorus might be moodier and more nuanced, but it is every bit as essential as the two before it. I also love the drumming from Fabio Constantino on this track, as well as the extended lead guitar work from Simone Mularoni.

You don’t need me to tell you that ‘Hope’ is awash with more gorgeous melodies, but Emanuele Casali’s keys come to the fore with a lightning fast and expansive solo that eventually duets with the guitar as if the two musicians share the same mind. The title track follows the lead of the opener in terms of it’s epic nature and overt flamboyance, not to mention more progressive leanings to underline that DGM are rightly referred to as a prog band. The chorus is a slow burner but hits hard once the penny drops.

Elsewhere, ‘Land Of Sorrow’ is a moodier track with some chunky riffs but also sections of quieter introspection that allow the chorus to make a greater impact, whilst I like the bombast and speed of ‘Turn Back Time’, along with the stomping riffs that appear too.

It’s towards the back end of the album where the quality tails off just a touch if I’m brutally honest, but even then, the music remains of a high standard, just perhaps not to the level that the first half reaches. However, overall, I’m incredibly impressed with this record. It seems impossible that this is the tenth album of DGM’s career and I’m only now fully realising their abilities and embracing their output. There’s being late to the party, and then there’s being really late to the party. On the strength of ‘Tragic Separation’ though, I think I need to go back and listen to some of their earlier material with a fresh perspective. If you’re already a fan of the Italians, or progressive metal with a strong melodic vein to it, you cannot go wrong with ‘Tragic Separation’, trust me.

The Score of Much Metal: 91%

Check out my reviews from 2020 right here:

Perduratum – Exile’s Anthology

Carcass – Despicable EP

Mors Principium Est – Seven

Cult Of Lilith – Mara

Helion Prime – Question Everything

Soul Secret – Blue Light Cage

Enslaved – Utgard

Dynfari – Myrkurs er þörf

Amaranthe – Manifest

Kataklysm – Unconquered

Structural Disorder – Kingdom Crossing

Skeletal Remains – The Entombment Of Chaos

Prehistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter One)

Ihsahn – Pharos

Hinayana – Death Of The Cosmic
Oceans Of Slumber – Oceans Of Slumber
Okyr – Premorbid Intelligence
Manticora – To Live To Kill To Live
Pain Of Salvation – Panther
Vanishing Point – Dead Elysium
Unleash The Archers – Abyss
Veonity – Sorrows
Nyktophobia – What Lasts Forever
Ages – Uncrown
Awake By Design – Awake By Design
Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits Of Doomed Escape
Gaerea – Limbo
Buried Realm – Embodiment Of The Divine
Navian – Reset
Selenseas – The Outer Limits
Quantum – The Next Breath Of Air
Ensiferum – Thalassic
Long Distance Calling – How Do We Want To Live?
Airbag – A Day At The Beach
Re-Armed – Ignis Aeternum
Atavist – III: Absolution
Frost* – Others EP
Darker Half – If You Only Knew
Atavistia – The Winter Way
Astralborne – Eternity’s End
Centinex – Death In Pieces
Haken – Virus
Pile Of Priests – Pile Of Priests
Sorcerer – Lamenting Of The Innocent
Lesoir – Mosaic
Temnein – Tales: Of Humanity And Greed
Caligula’s Horse – Rise Radiant
…And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother
Vader – Solitude In Madness
Shrapnel – Palace For The Insane
Sinisthra – The Broad And Beaten Way
Paradise Lost – Obsidian
Naglfar – Cerecloth
Forgotten Tomb – Nihilistic Estrangement
Winterfylleth – The Reckoning Dawn
Firewind – Firewind
An Autumn For Crippled Children – All Fell Silent, Everything Went Quiet
Havok – V
Helfró – Helfró
Victoria K – Essentia
Cryptex – Once Upon A Time
Thy Despair – The Song Of Desolation
Cirith Ungol – Forever Black
Igorrr – Spirituality and Distortion
Nightwish – Human. II: Nature.
Katatonia – City Burials
Wolfheart – Wolves Of Karelia
Asenblut – Die Wilde Jagd
Nicumo – Inertia
The Black Dahlia Murder – Verminous
Omega Infinity – Solar Spectre
Symbolik – Emergence
Pure Reason Revolution – Eupnea
Irist – Order Of The Mind
Testament – Titans Of Creation
Ilium – Carcinogeist
Dawn Of Ouroboros – The Art Of Morphology
Torchia – The Coven
Novena – Eleventh Hour
Ashes Of Life – Seasons Within
Dynazty – The Dark Delight
Sutrah – Aletheia EP
Welicoruss – Siberian Heathen Horde
Myth Of I – Myth Of I
My Dying Bride – The Ghost Of Orion
Infirmum – Walls Of Sorrow
Inno – The Rain Under
Kvaen – The Funeral Pyre
Mindtech – Omnipresence
Dark Fortress – Spectres From The Old World
The Oneira – Injection
Night Crowned – Impius Viam
Dead Serenity – Beginnings EP
The Night Flight Orchestra – Aeromantic
Deadrisen – Deadrisen
Blaze Of Perdition – The Harrowing Of Hearts
Godsticks – Inescapable
Isle Of The Cross – Excelsis
Demons & Wizards – III
Vredehammer – Viperous
H.E.A.T – H.E.A.T II
Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void
Into The Open – Destination Eternity
Lunarsea – Earthling/Terrestre
Pure Wrath – The Forlorn Soldier EP
Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering
Sepultura – Quadra
Dyscordia – Delete / Rewrite
Godthrymm – Reflections
On Thorns I Lay – Threnos
God Dethroned – Illuminati
Fragment Soul – A Soul Inhabiting Two Bodies
Mariana Semkina – Sleepwalking
Mini Album Reviews: Moloken, The Driftwood Sign & Midnight
Serenity – The Last Knight
Ihsahn – Telemark EP
Temperance – Viridian
Blasphemer – The Sixth Hour
Deathwhite – Grave Image
Marko Hietala – Pyre Of The Black Heart
SWMM – Trail Of The Fallen
Into Pandemonium – Darkest Rise EP
Bonded – Rest In Violence
Serious Black – Suite 226
Darktribe – Voici L’Homme
Brothers Of Metal – Emblas Saga
A Life Divided – Echoes
Thoughts Factory – Elements

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews