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Dice - Without vs. Within Pt. 1 CD (album) cover




Crossover Prog

3.31 | 20 ratings

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Prog-Folk Team
3 stars Beginning in 2006 DICE embarked on a trilogy of concept albums about reconciling our inner and outer selves, but the musical and even many of the lyrical themes remain largely intact. What has changed is the generally increased song lengths, with almost all containing extended soloing, mostly by new guitarist Peter Viertel. He is equal to the task even if distinguishing one elongated passage from another can be a challenge.

Another change is that the music has more of a pronounced neo prog mannerism, particularly in the title cut, which becomes repeated in slightly modified versions on each of the subsequent releases. This nod in the direction of the English neo bands is not one I sanction. As I have mentioned before, the genre can be characterized by an overly intense and polished wall of sound with not enough breaks to try out a different mood. So while "Without and Within" (the song) is a good piece of Floyd-influenced philosophy, it does not reach the grandeur that might be anticipated for a flagship theme.

Luckily, the two opening pieces both impose the natural DICE character and are strong tunes with infectious hooks, especially the delightful "Dark Flowers", which is spacey and ominous, yet uplifting. Nove's voice is mixed at just the right level for the effect. And his voice has improved over the years, except when he gets atonal as on "Questions and Answers", a tune that flags in spite of some interesting eastern motifs. "The Hope Has Gone Forever" manages to make a depressing theme into an uplifting one thanks to its anthemic chorus and more Viertelosity. So even if Falling Star is more pedestrian, this ends up being a pretty likable DICE effort that shows the muse is intact.

Without vs. Within Pt. 1 is a good album with plenty of appeal whether you prefer to internalize or externalize your favourite music.

kenethlevine | 3/5 |


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