REVIEW: The Dali Thundering Concept – Savages [2018]

Artist: The Dali Thundering Concept

Album: Savages


I will absolutely admit it—the odd names and left-field sense of humor is one of the things that drew me to heavy music to begin with. When artists like Grace Gale and The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza had such absurd names (for songs, albums and more), I felt compelled to check them out, sending my eighth grade self spiraling into a pseudo-addiction to punishing, raunchy and aggressive music that defines me to this day. Artists like the aforementioned—and so many more—left you with that feeling that, before listening to them, you didn’t really know what you were getting into upon pressing play, and after listening, you still don’t really know what happened, but you get the sense that..hey, their name fits them pretty well.

The Dali Thundering Concept are another one of those bands.

If you haven’t become familiar with the act yet, I (almost) implore you to stop reading this and just go do it, because there aren’t many words that can convey the unusual nature and immensity of the band’s 2018 full length, Savages. The album name is fitting, as the outfit are nothing short of primal and purely regressive in their assault on the listener. Likewise, the band’s name fits—even if I couldn’t rightly tell you how it fits—but it leaves little question that the band are comprised of the types of genius that lay dangerously close to the borderline dividing brilliance and insanity. Ruthless riffs, crushing breakdowns, grooves and bounce aplenty, Savages is just that, meaning any fan of extreme music owes it to themselves to give it a listen.

Savages is an adventure through deathcore, groove metal, jazz-infused, prog-tinted aggression that stops at nothing to create a sound immersive, unique and relentless. The Dali Thundering Concept use elements of heavy music from years—and hell, decades—passed and stick it in a blender with contemporary production and a penchant for purely punishing, pissed off brutality. Songs like “The Myth of Happiness” and “Blessed with Boredom” are epic numbers that see percussionist Martin Gronnier oscillating between straightforward patterns, blistering breakdowns and unbelievably technical patterns that confidently stride the line between jazz-fusion, progressive metal and pure deathcore. Likewise, bassist Steve Treguier is always by his side, adding a snappy, bouncy funk to the more ethereal segments—like those found in the jazzy interlude, “Dementer,” or the subtle sections of “Utopia.” Then, there are the ultra-aggressive aspects of the release; the breakdowns that define the first couple tracks (“The Myth of Happiness” especially), where the duo work together in a different fashion, Treguier adding heft and punch to Gronnier’s gutwrenching, ferocious low kick. Even the tail end of “Utopia” boasts a bold series of dissonant salvos, wherein guitarist Leo Natale adds just enough shred and flashy fretwork into the mix to keep the more elitist prog-enthusiasts thoroughly engaged (until, of course, a sultry sax solo slides its way into the track). Natale’s work throughout all of Savages is top notch, from the scathing riffs of “Ostrich Dynasty” and “We Build the Past,” even including “There is No Calm” and the closing segments of “Utopia,” where “Dementer” sees his excellence in a different light: smooth, sexy and subtle.

Where The Dali Thundering Concept’s instrumental approach is as cavalier as it is carefully crafted and cunning, the band’s vocal element is just as much so. Combining ferocious roars, skin-peeling screams with out-of-left-field metallic cleanly sung vocals and just about everything in between, frontman Sylvain Conier is ruthless and jaw-dropping both. Songs like “Utopia” see his range like no other track on Savages, while the first half of the record is a much more raw, primal and punishing testament to his versatility. He complements every aspect of the band’s bizarre dynamic, fitting like a glove, even though—much akin to the band’s musicianship and overall feel—its still not really sure just what that dynamic is, and it’s damn hard to describe. With that in mind, Conier’s vocals are brilliant, and there really isn’t much more that need be elaborated.

The Dali Thundering Concept have crafted an intelligent and crushing album with Savages. While parts of it (“Cassandra,” for example) seem a bit too much into the band’s odd style and headspace, much of the immense undertaking that is the band’s 2018 full-length release is simply astounding. Combining progressive metal with technical deathcore elements and jazz, post-rock and math-rock alike, The Dali Thunder Concept’s name might not make heaps of sense, but the listener will want to keep listening to Savages until it does.



For Fans Of: The Schoenburg Automaton, Oceano, TesseracT

By: Connor Welsh