DYNAZTY – Titanic Mass

dynaztytitanicQuitting is for quitters! I guess that’s how the boys in the Swedish melodic metal five-piece sees it. Because after lots of line-up changes, bad reviews from pretentious know-it-alls and sales that haven’t matched the quality of their music, the guys just refuse to call it a day – the love for the band and playing music wins every time. The band started out in 2007, formed by guitarists Love Magnusson (then known as Rob Love) and John Berg, bass player Joel Appelgren (then known as Joey Fox), drummer George Egg and lead singer Nils Molin (then known as Nils Molin…) as a melodic hard rock band with influences from AOR, glam, sleaze and some metal on top. I first got acquainted with the boys when producer Chris Laney played me some songs from the demo he had just produced for the guys in Polar studios. I must admit that even though I heard that the guys were brilliant musicians, I wasn’t that impressed – I couldn’t hear anything that stuck. Well, that demo was later released as their debut album Bring The Thunder in 2009, released by American label Perris records and after watching the guys live at their release party, I started to get it. I bought the record and when I blasted it in my car the day after, my mind had changed. But the record wasn’t a big success and John Berg left the band. But Swedish actor Peter Stormare got to hear the boys and loved them so much that he signed them to his own label, Stormvox, telling everyone he could that the band had the potential to become huge, the next arena band or something. The follow-up Knock You Down (2011) was recorded as a four-piece and the album sure took the guys up a few notches. But it was with 2012’s Sultans Of Sin (where yours truly appears in the video for the title-track) and the addition of guitarist Mike Lavér that the band started to find their sound. It was a fantastic album, so it was with some big scepticism I took the news that the band had decided to change their musical outlook for the writing of the next record. Also, Appelgren had left the band and was replaced by Jonathan Olsson. But my worries were completely unnecessary – no matter the style, Dynazty won’t ever give in on quality and the album Renatus (2014) was proof of that. The band had dropped the melodic rock influences and went metal all the way, something that had come along more and more with each album. The album was as close to a 10/10 rating as it could be. All the songs are of the highest quality and only minor set backs, such as the annoying synthesizer that popped up ever so often that gave the band the typical modern rock radio sound held the ten back. I guess that synthesizer was the reason they got the stupid Amaranthe comparison in many reviews as well. At least I can’t hear any other Amaranthe influences on that album. That said, when Dynazty now returns with their fifth effort, my expectations are so high it’s almost ridiculous. I mean, I know that the guys would deliver a good album, but at some point the high quality must drop, at least some, right?

Well, with the release of their first single and opening track “The Human Paradox”, the answer is a clear no! I’m completely floored by the first listen. The band holds on to the musical path they went on the last album and the song is a hit deluxe. The melody nails itself right to the brain and the heavy rhythm makes you want to get up and break stuff. The album couldn’t have started any better! “Untamer Of Your Soul” attacks like a wounded bear, the riffs punches right in the gut and melodies, both in verses and chorus are striking. I’m getting a Renatus vibe of it, minus annoying synth and the song is so damn brilliant I want to put in repeat right on the spot. “Roar Of The Underdog” is a modern heavy metal tune and has a metal groove that makes me wanna jump up, fist in the air and headbang myself senseless – while singing along, because it is catchy as hell at the same time. The title track is a real powerhouse – big, heavy and grandiose with melodies so memorable a senile would remember them. I also get an Iron Maiden / Thin Lizzy vibe from the guitar arrangements – brilliant! If the guy responsible for picking out singles at Spinefarm records doesn’t pick “Keys To Paradise” as a single in the future he might wanna think twice about his choice of career because the song is a total hit, see. The chorus jumps right at you, grabs hold and refuses to leave, catchy is to put it mildly. “I Want To Live Forever” – co-written by Mats Levén (Candlemass), Pontus Norgren (Hammerfall) and Chris Goldsmith (Coldspell) with Molin – breaks the mold a bit. It’s not a ballad per se, more of a softer and slower metal tune. I would consider this a single as well – bloody brilliant. “The Beast Inside” is just that – a beast. It’s hard, heavy and direct – with a somewhat more modern twist – a real killer! “Break Into The Wild” brings some big hooks and with the crystal clear chorus it really gets under my skin. Also, I’m getting an early Rising Force vibe from it, intentional or not – another winner. “Crack In The Shell” is very direct, heavy and melodic with a bite. This could be a live show opening track – no doubt it’s perfect for the stage. “Free Man’s Anthem” is amazing and the chorus gets to you right on the spot. The very melodic, sing-alongish melody brings some early Helloween to mind. It doesn’t sound like Helloween but the melody arrangement is reminiscent to them. They end the album with a ballad, the both beautiful and powerful “The Smoking Gun”. It’s big and fat in sound and the atmosphere is intoxicating. Remember, there’s a difference between a power ballad and a powerful ballad – this one is the latter, so there’s no cheese there at all – pure brilliance.

So here’s the deal – if there’s any justice in the world at all, this album MUST be Dynazty’s breakthrough – finally! Because from the first song to the last, this is a fantastic album and their best one to date. The biggest problem now for the guys is how on Earth they will top it the next time around. Sound wise, it’s very much a sister album to Renatus – a continuation if you will, but I see it more as a bettered version, the album where they really hit home for real. For one, the annoying synthesizer is a goner and as for bad songs, there are none. I mean, I can’t even find one that is just good, all songs are above good and I have a problem finding a favorite tune, they kind of all are. Many hard rock fans today cringe when the term “modern metal” is brought up because all you think of is all of those thirteen a dozen acts that pops up on mainstream rock radio all the time, but with Titanic Mass, Dynazty have shown us how to make a “modern metal” album that stands out from the crowd – it’s easy to separate Dynazty from all the other million bands out there because they do have their own sound and style, all without reinventing the wheel by any means. I tip my hat off to the hard-working guys and keep my fingers crossed that this record will bring the band to the big league. So, just get out and buy the damned thing, will ya?

10/10

Other Dynazty reviews
Sultans Of Sin
Renatus

Tracklist:

1. The Human Paradox
2. Untamer Of Your Soul
3. Roar Of The Underdog
4. Titanic Mass
5. Keys To Paradise
6. I Want To Live Forever
7. The Beast Inside
8. Break Into The Wild
9. Crack In The Shell
10. Free Man’s Anthem
11. The Smoking Gun

Photo: Talle Savage / Savage Beauty
Retouch: Mattias Savage Wilmenius / Savage Beauty

Advertisements