Tragedian – Seven Dimensions Review

What’s in a name? That which we call a poser by any other word would be unhalled. What’s Tragedian? It is nor fun nor epic nor soaring nor uplifting nor any other part belonging to a power metal band. But a name it is, and a foreboding one still. Seven Dimensions is the fourth album from this German troupe’s revolving line-up, and my oh my, have they earned their name on this record.

“Rising Rage,” as apt a title as you’ll find, is deceptive. The intro features some initial promise, tucked somewhere in its thick axe surge and ear-shattering snare smashes. Seven Dimensions sets a grand stage, replete with cheesy synth tones and straight-line chord-and-chug, leaving plenty of room for a surely virtuoso vocal performance. Can you smell it? The harmonization in the air? The brain-drain of everything noteworthy into the vox, with nothing but scraps left for the solos? As ripe as Raclette, that scent of vocal carpetbaggery. All of this, for a singer who cannot carry a tune. Surely, Joan Pabón’s vocal sins are greatest. More off-key than on and wildly inconsistent, his flat strain and awkward accent range his performance from infuriating to excruciating.

The rest of this tragedy isn’t far behind. Guitarist Gabriel Palermo, the only original member of the band remaining, often escapes notice as the vocal black hole sucks away all possible attention. When granted the spotlight though, Palermo’s own tragic solos command the entire stage: tepid (most), bizarrely out of place (playing Van Halen wannabe on “Destiny”), or downright atrocious (“Crying in the Rain”, awful even before flubbing notes). His solos instill almost as much fear as his shrill, out-of-tune string bends. Good thing you’re guaranteed several of each per song! Even Denis Scheither’s starter-pack synth tones get stuck in there, terrorizing “Darkest of My Days” and “Forevermore” with uncomfortable solo passages of its own. Still, that may be preferable to the rest of Scheither’s performance. His keys float in and out of the record, content to vaguely haunt the guitar1 with suspect timing and off-kilter noodles that often sound like they’re meant for a different song—or band.

The writing problems spin out past individual performances and into regular moments of instrumental repulsion. The whole band make it onto the same satisfying page only a handful of times, and briefly at that. The strongest moment comes in the form of duet closer “Forces of Light,” where the band commits the cardinal sin of having a weak vocalist: putting him next to a better one. Zak Stevens (Circle II Circle, ex-Savatage) turns in a predictably strong performance on the ballad, rubbing Pabón’s face in it without trying. Scheither mercifully replaces Palermo in a lead piano role, and the song where Tragedian sounds nothing like Tragedian turns out to be the only one I like.

The production is certainly not spared in this bloodletting. Eike Freese’s oddball mix slots drums and guitars above the vocals, what should the main melodic driver. Add in the sense that the band recorded their instruments in different rooms, smash that into a squished master chock full of everything I’ve laid out here, and you’ve got arguably the worst record I’ve ever reviewed at AMG. And that too is odd, in a way. This technically isn’t Tragedian’s first attempt, not even close, though it is the first record for more than half the band (Pabón, Scheither, bassist Dawid Wieczorek). Still, the experience behind the personnel and the clear central vision should have translated to something better than this. With one or two fewer detractors—an improved solo, a stronger mix, anything—the record might suddenly become tolerable, if not plain old boring. But it all so completely and violently goes further off the rails with each passing minute that Seven Dimensions may be more apt a name than Tragedian, for the myriad varieties of suck therein. There aren’t enough tragedy puns in the English language to properly describe this one.

Rating: 0.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Pride & Joy Music
Websites: | |
Releases Worldwide: January 9th, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. Hat tip to Sentynel for the only way I can think of them now.
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