This month sees the release via Sliptrick Records of Special Dreamer, the latest album from Italian rock band Dangerego. This is a band that has seemingly become a potent presence on the underground scene of their homeland but escaped wider awareness…until now that is as it is easy to see their latest proposal igniting global bred attention. It is an enthralling and increasingly compelling collection of songs fuelled by their “alternative/ post grunge” sound. In fact the band’s music is a tapestry of diverse and flavoursome styles across many genres woven into a proposition which is simply rumbling, fiery rock ‘n’ roll.
Formed in 2005, the Florence bred quintet emerged from a union of musicians from the city already experienced from playing in the likes of Terrametèa, Bleff, Chèquers, and Florence New Grass. Drawing on inspirations from the likes of Black Sabbath, Faith No More, and Audioslave, the band soon made a potent impact on the local live scene, playing some of the most prestigious venues of Tuscany such as Viper Theatre, The Cage Club, and Borderline over time, as well as numerous festivals and sharing stages with bands such as Heike Has The Giggles, Calibro 35, and Maniscalco Maldestro. The band self-released their debut album Autopsy in 2011, it finding more success with a re-release two years later through Atomic Stuff. The autumn of 2014 saw Dangerego touring the US and playing Fall Jam Fest with bands such as Otherwise whilst last year they began working on Special Dreamer and linked up with Sliptrick Records for its uncaging.
The album quickly grabs ears and imagination with opener The Death of Thoughts, Pt. 1, an acoustic caress with electronic shadows that instantly reveals the alluring strength of band’s songwriting and the potency of Flavio Angelini’s vocal prowess. It is a mesmeric start which even at a handful of seconds over a minute in length has thoughts and attention firmly gripped and ready for the following tempting of Blackheart Hotel. Riffs straight away entangle ears with a bluesy spicing whilst rhythms forge a punchy welcome, both continuing to impose their weight as vocals and inflamed melodies get bound in fiery grooves and salacious hooks. There is a touch of Soundgarden to the encounter, a scent of Kyuss too, but predominantly here and across the album the one band which most comes to mind is Life of Agony, though undoubtedly Dangerego create something wholly individual to them.
Barely a moment passes before the second song becomes the third, Everything Comes to Life a sister temptress to its predecessor but soon exploring its own emotive depths as the infectious rhythms of drummer Massimiliano Innocenti work on hips and the grooves and melodies of guitarists Enrico Francesca and Lorenzo Giusti enslave ears. Once more hooks are in appealing abundance but finely honed to sneakily line the tenacious body and anthemic pull of the song where the moody basslines of Claudio Zucchelli is as much thick bait as anything within the sultry blaze of rock ‘n’ roll.
Special Dream allows a moment to catch a breath, its initial melodic and vocal serenade soaked in reflective emotion and poetic melodies but soon it too is a robustly dynamic and a creatively incendiary offering firing up an even greater hunger for the release in an already easily persuaded appetite. Vocalist Angelini continues to impress and captivate as forcibly as the canvas of evocative and again enjoyably imposing sounds around him, even in the quieter reflective moments mid-way through the song.
I’ll Stand Here tantalises and entices with its melodic amble next, though of course it too has impassioned and sonic outbursts in its stoner/grunge hued and melodic rock coloured presence before Winter’s Come steps up to reveal its boisterous blues rock spiced rock ‘n’ roll. Expectations at this point are for songs to twist and turn through an array of flavours, and the broodingly catchy offering is no exception nor the riveting Red Dawn with its funk bred bassline and the predatory nature of riffs and prowling grooves. The noir lit track is glorious, a canvas for the imagination to run with and an enthused body to get eagerly involved with.
With another moment to relax as the emotive charm of Euphony with its classically aired keys and thick emotions takes over to further captivate, there is no escaping the diversity of sound and resourcefulness of inventive craft across the album, the last trio of songs alone rich proof, and it only continues as the dark hearted and grippingly volatile Black Soul steps forward next. From a haunted, melancholy drenched slow opening, the track erupts into a cauldron of intensive energy and ferocious drama. From the predatory bass to the scything rhythms and the searing grooves to the heart driven vocals, it is a devouring fire of magnetic songwriting and bracing persuasion that only leaves a want for more.
The Road to Stockholm also has a haunting climate to its almost vaudevillian theatre of evolving sound, its great success backed by the roar of A Trail of Tears with its flirtatious hooks and Poets Of The Fall like character. Both songs again inspire full involvement, one of the many potent aspects of the album shown again in the seemingly but indefinably familiar and bewitching Broken Bones with its electronic devilment around another imaginative sonic web sprung from the strings of both guitarists.
Completed by The Death of Thoughts, Pt. 2, the companion bookend to the opener, Special Dreamer is a masterful and thoroughly thrilling encounter which only grows in temptation and stature with every listen. Like us you may not have heard of Dangerego before but the time is ripe to change that and to prevent the secret from being allowed to go on. For stylish and imaginative melodic rock woven from its various guises, there will surely be few releases this year to outshine Special Dreamer.
Special Dreamer is out now via Sliptrick Records.
Pete RingMaster 11/02/2016
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