Diary of Dreams – “Ego:X” – Viva Music Album Review

September 1, 2011 in Album Reviews

Tracklist: X1 Into X” * “Undividable” * “Lebenslang” * “Element 1: Zeitgeist” * “Grey The Blue” * “Immmerdar” * “Element: Illusion” * “Push Me” * “Element 3: Stagnation” * “Echo in Me (X-Version)” * “Element 4: Angst” * “Mein-Eid” * “Splinter” * “Element 5: Resignation” * “Fateful Decoy” * “Weh: Mut” * “Out of XX2 The Return” * “Push Me (X-Version)” * “Undividable (E-Mix)” * “Undividable (Alternative-Mix)

Produced by: Daniel Myer, Diary of Dreams. Mastered by: Diary of Dreams, Guido Fricke, Rainer Assmann. Words, music, written, performed by: Diary of Dreams. Vocals: Martin Kessler (spoken); Amelia Brightman (guest, tracks: 1-8). Drums: Guido Fricke (recording). Violin: Ray W (tracks 1-2, 1-8, 2-1). Pre-order the album and listen to snippets from here.

Diary of Dreams’ 13th studio album “Ego:X” is the summa cum laude collaboration between the band and Daniel Myer. Previously renowned for their active use of riddle-packed, dark electronic sounds meddling with classical compositions, Diary of Dreams return with a new album in September 2011 with topnotch vocals from Adrian Hates and guests, as well as with a very conceptual album that can be equally thought of as a club album and a soundtrack for your intimate and personal moments. The album stands out with its accession of both conceptual and lighter pieces, all in all a feast for the ears of both Diary of Dreams veteran and novice listeners.

Diary of Dreams – “Ego:X” – Viva Music Review:

Bracketed by two superb “Into X” and “Out of X”, the first disc of the album “Ego:X” contains as usual with Diary of Dreams a lengthy suite of tracks that render the basic equation of the title profound, laden with meaning and carefully plotted against one philosophical question everyone must face at some point or other of their existence: who we are, how it is that we as one stand as one to the world and do not become mingled with the others, and ultimately how does our unity divide itself in the many ways we need to participate in the world. Trying to respond from one blow to the question, the track “Undividable” (remixes of which are to be found on the second disc of the album) crashes in with real force and virtuosity, putting a wide range of emotions at stake – between agony and quietude, and between the surreptitious wish of being independent and the feeling of belonging. Shaped into one piece by Adrian Hates’ voice, the track is really enticing and carries on a refined aftertaste into the next track, “Lebenslang”; which, as the title goes, is about a lifelong endeavor to create despite the feel of destruction and corruption.

Musically next to perfect, the first element of the compilation, that brings the spoken voice of Martin Kessler, “Element 1: Zeitgeist” couples with the trademark Diary of Dreams instrument the vocal flux of a very heavy discourse, but nonetheless easily approachable and easy to define within the album’s course. The series of elements (“Element 1: Zeitgeist” * “Element: Illusion” * “Element 3: Stagnation” * “Element 4: Angst” * “Element 5: Resignation”) creates philosophical checkpoints within the album, and decides with each and every sentence the main frame of the album itself. “Grey the Blue” subjectively and possibly objectively one of the best wrought tracks of the album ensues, and sets a deeply melancholic atmosphere, darkened with each vocal outburst, but also making it soft and amenable with its hopeful icing. “Immmerdar”, the semantic acolyte of “Lebenslang”, sounds as fateful and momentous, but can easily stand alone on the lighter side of the album, with its almost ballad tempo and its hopeful jets, creating a sort of antonymic pairing between the dark vocals and the message it carries on.

After the second element of the equation steps in with the vibrant “Element: Illusion”, the listener must feel that things will definitely never be the same again. Like VNV Nation’s “Illusion”, Diary of Dreams’ one dictates a strong emotion and its declamatory power enriches with each note added to the melody. Though definitely different from many of the things Diary of Dreams accustomed us with so far, the track is resplendent and paves a sure path for the overpowering “Push Me” that comes up next; with vocals from Amelia Brightman, renowned Sarah Brightman’s sister, and also a frequent collaborator of Frank Peterson’s German-based Gregorian ensemble. Though a collaboration that sets a new perspective on the combinations in which the music of Diary of Dreams can participate, it does not stand out of the album, but matches its texture and general concept wholly.

With “Element 3: Stagnation” checked off the list of elements that help shape the album, a deep and engaging piece of music, the album heads to the same good level of musicianship it has provided so far; “Echo in Me (X-Version)” is a classical Diary of Dreams production, but foraying sound in a novel way that makes one wonder, what will the band come up with music wise in the future. It is a moving track, and a glorious one, leaving little room for mixed feelings – it’s definitely a lovemark of the album. “Element 4: Angst” is, upon listening to the track, crucial to the album’s evolution, and a track one can definitely relate to. Gracious but with a firm hand, it lets out a positive vibe, and coupled with Martin Kessler’s vocals, it presents the listener with a replenishing experience.

Mein-Eid” which creates the double-entendre of being either “My Oath” or “Perjury” is, as the title’s play upon words suggests, a multifaceted portrayal of one’s intentions and their verbal and factual materialization. A gem of a song, “Mein-Eid” is built upon a charismatic melody and if at this point of listening methodically to the album there were still listeners fearful of their own interpretation of a transition Diary of Dreams are undergoing, they are easily done away with. There are so many new elements enriching the Diary of Dreams portfolio that one surely needs to get accustomed to, and it’s not difficult, really, with the same almost divine strong vine of the old(er) Diary of Dreams well assimilated.

Splinter” is a neutral track from the point of view of innovation, but it surely strikes a singular note with its impetus and creates sufficient harmony within the corpus of the album. So does the final element, “Element 5: Resignation”, an easy to love track that sets, however, the note of despondency and resignation over the ‘happier’ tone of previous tracks. Majestic and with a  real good musical drive, “Element 5: Resignation” is a good addition to the album and to its offspring, “Fateful Decoy” and “Weh:mut” – both tracks are attractive and make what would be in other bands’ case too long an album, an album instead you wish it would never end. “Fateful Decoy” is as nostalgic as Diary of Dreams have ever been, but it cumulates atop of nostalgia a strong enough musical perspective. The listening test is also passed by “Weh:mut”, again playfully being read as either “Sore Heart” and “Nostalgia”, the final track before the closing “Out of X”.

The second disc of the album provides, alongside the track “The Return”, one remix version of “Push Me” (“Push Me (X-Version)”) and two remixes of “Undividable” (“Undividable (E-Mix)” * “Undividable (Alternative-Mix)”).

Diary of Dreams’ new album, scheduled for mid-September is already part of a rich repertory of music that comes out this fall: Haujobb and VNV Nation are just two examples of albums that are going to rock your world this coming autumn, but it definitely stays as one major release for 2011 in our beloved scene. Make sure to listen to it and don’t forget to let us know what you think about it!

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