Dagoba – Post Mortem Nihil Est (2013)

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Dagoba is that rarest of things: a metal band from France, where Gojira are almost the only ones to have gained international acceptance. Yet this neo-trash and metalcore group has thrived in the land of hip-hop and chanson.

In fact, Dagoba is already on its fifth album, with Post Mortem Nihil Est. Over 13 years, they’ve managed to maintain a relatively stable line-up, too, something that contributed to an impressive run in which each album has been better than the last. There was, then, understandable concern last year when founding member and guitarist Izaka left after a violent argument with another member of the group. But Dagoba was quick to find an equivalent replacement in Yves Terzibachian. The results on Post Mortem Nihil Est, quite frankly, represent their best work so far. Thoughtful and focused from the beginning, this album is an intriguingly dark opus — with everything circling around death as a subject.

Post Mortem Nihil Est starts with “When Winter …,” a fine mix of older Fear Factory with clean vocals and great melodies. Two neckbreakers follow: “The Realm Black” and “I, Reptile” are pure death metal, genuinely killer songs. Unfortunately, they can’t keep the same level of intensity for long, but the well-made instrumental “Nevada” shows for the first time in their career the ability to move toward a “quiet” side. “The Great Wonder,” another great example of the theory that Dagoba isn’t required to break the speed limit all the time, reminds me a lot of Stone Sour — a real eargrower. Soon, they return to the band’s muscular forte, finishing on a high note.

And so, Postmortem Mortem Nihil Est represents an album which will satisfy fans of both modern and traditional metal. It’s not terribly experimental, and certainly not as boisterous as their self-titled 2003 debut, but Dagoba has grown into a skilled band capable of creating more complex song cycles — something that bodes well for the future.

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Mike Dostert

Mike Dostert

Luxembourg resident Mike Dostert has written about music for more than two decades, with work appearing in a local newspaper, via his own independent music magazine and at the web sites www.music-brain.com and lux-culture.jimdo.com. He has also worked for 20 years as a DJ and radio host. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Mike Dostert
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