15th September, 2014 - Pelagic Records
02. Carpets On The Walls
03. The Calm Before
04. The Storm
06. Big Pump
09. Vortex Reflex
Some things just can’t be hurried. German quartet Dioramic released their first album way back in 2004. They waited six years before releasing second album Technicolor, and now – four years after that – we get album number three, Supra.
Admittedly, the lion’s share of the reasons for this second lengthy inter-album period was the departure of original drummer Anton, who found wider recognition under his alter-ego Zedd.
So despite the majority of the tracks for Supra having been written as far back as 2011, it took the band some time to locate an appropriate replacement, who ultimately came in the form of ex-War From A Harlots Mouth sticksman Paul, who is now pulling a double-duty between Dioramic and fellow countrymen (and Monolith favourites) The Ocean.
It’s very quickly apparent that whilst Supra may have spent a long time in gestation, it has very much been worth the wait. Its nine tracks twist and turn their way through a progressive metal journey that very much feels like a complete piece rather than just a collection of songs.
It’s also clear why Paul’s percussive talents have been recruited by the two bands virtually simultaneously. Supra occupies a similar position on the sonic spectrum to the Fluxion/Aeolian-era of The Ocean, which is further embellished by nods in the direction of Opeth, ISIS and – perhaps surprisingly – the slightly dreamy textures of the latter half of the Poison The Well discography.
In the main, Supra is a mid-paced affair, and Dioramic display a particular flair for rolling, lip-curling chug with rhythmic flourishes that keep the riffs interesting. The more digital-sounding crunch is complemented by warmer analogue tones in the quieter passages.
Whilst the album does flow as a whole, the more explicitly paired “The Calm Before” and “The Storm” are particularly successful. “Big Pump” is another real stand-out track that drops from full-throated roar to a whisper in a heartbeat. Towards the end of the album comes “Logbook“, which is augmented by a surprisingly rich choral accompaniment.
Supra is a thoroughly engaging listen, and one that is remarkably well-balanced. It is dynamic and varied without being messy or confusing, and the deft technical flourishes augment the songs without sacrificing the overall groove. The album should be of interest to any fan of progressive metal, but particularly to those who might have wished The Ocean had not diverted into less overtly heavy waters after Precambrian. Meaty.