REVIEWS

Here are various reviews from Dungeon's releases. The band would like the sincerely thank everyone who has taken the time to listen to the albums and give their thoughts.


THE FINAL CHAPTER

Review by Spiritech, BlastWave 'Zine

Formed in 1989 in the town of Broken Hill, Australia, melodic Metallers Dungeon grew to become one of the country’s best and most loved Metal outfits. In their lengthy career they produced several top-notch releases and toured with plenty of huge acts, their popularity increasing with each outing. However, after numerous line-up changes in 2005, vocalist/guitarist and founding member “Lord Tim” Grose decided to end the project, but subsequently announced that the band would essentially continue with new members under the name LORD.

Before completely moving on to LORD though, Grose felt it necessary to record one final album as Dungeon. The result is the infectious “The Final Chapter”, a fantastic ending to their legacy. It’s also a record with a large amount of depth, improving with extra listens. There’s loads of little nuances all over the place, not to mention grand touches like Latin choirs, orchestral elements, female guest vocals, layers and more to sink your teeth into. The production is also very good; the guitar tone is especially powerful. The only complaint in this department would be that the vocals appear to be too low in the mix occasionally, but this will be rectified on future pressings.

Cracking opener ‘Pariah’ immediately puts paid to the misconception that Dungeon were strictly a Power Metal band. Instead, there are huge helpings of Thrash, melodic Death and traditional Metal. The combination of a stand out riff, huge harmonies and Tim Yatras’ complex drumming show that Dungeon could Thrash out nicely. Later cuts also bring out more AOR and Prog Metal influences, resulting in a diverse but still coherent release that’s as tight as a nun’s you-know-what.

The Hard Rock-styled ‘Better Man’ is one of the catchiest things you’ll hear any time soon; the chorus and harmonized guitars are irresistible. Its “live well, or life will bite you in the arse” lyrical sentiment will ring true for a lot of listeners. “The Final Chapter” also possesses its share of more sizeable cuts, the highlights of which are ‘Curse Of The Pharaohs’, complete with gigantic AOR-style chorus and epic vibe, and ‘Life Is A Lie’, which if there is any justice would be played live with thousands of lighters in the air! The lengthier tracks may wear a few folks’ patience thin, but melodic Metal fans will be in heaven.

Other cuts don’t let the side down. The lovingly constructed ‘Gallipoli’ is the kind of wartime history lesson that Iron Maiden used to write, inspiring kids everywhere to pick up their school books. The melodies and neat soloing of songs like ‘Fire Of Time’ and Lord Tim’s soaring vocals on virtually every cut are all classic Dungeon.

One song that sticks out is ‘Steelheart’. While essentially a big dumb ’80s Hard Rock song, complete with cheesy lyrics and guitars, not forgetting the even cheesier stadium Rock-driven “wooahhhh”s, it’s fun and breaks up the album. The ten-minute title track is back to serious business though and is a fitting end to the album proper and Dungeon’s career overall, telling the band’s story through the use of previous album titles and the like. The lyrics could well be highly inspirational for those who have undertaken their own journeys in life and drummer Yatras impresses again here.

The two bonus tracks also serve as a neat bookend here, as both are early tracks re-recorded. There’s “Don’t Leave Me”, originally recorded in 1990 and “Changing Moods”, taken from the 1995 EP of the same name. “Changing Moods” is the better of the two with its outstanding sense of melody and lead work, but both are classy updates on long-time favourites, complete with the kind of production values they always deserved but never had before. Drumming freaks will be impressed with Yatras’ performance on this one, as he matches the efforts of virtuoso Virgil Donati who played on the original version.

If you’ve never heard Dungeon before but are interested to get a summation of their career, “The Final Chapter” is a great place to begin as it brings everything that was great about the band together, while not just being a recycling of past achievements. With over an hour of music available, fans will find plenty to love here. While it may be a little sad to let go, rest assured that the band’s ethos will live on with LORD.


Review by Pyro, Pyromusic.net

Since 1995's 'Changing Moods' EP, Dungeon have progressed immensely as a band. Having established themselves as one of Australia's biggest and best live acts, with a handful of great albums to back up the reputation, 2006 marks the last output to bear the Dungeon name. When I listen to 'The Final Chapter' it's almost impossible to mentally compare it to previous Dungeon outputs. I just can't do it. I loved 2004's 'One Step Beyond'. Though it took quite some time to fully get into, and was a fair change from 'A Rise To Power', it was still Dungeon, and in the end I grew to really enjoy it. For me, 'The Final Chapter' is worlds away from anything Dungeon have recorded prior to now and continues what was stated with 'One Step Beyond'. It's technically superior, its far more dynamic and complex, the musicianship is excellent and the songwriting is highly evolved. Whether or not fans will find 'The Final Chapter' to have its 'Insanity's Fall', 'I Am Death', 'Stomchaser', 'Wake Up', 'The Other Side', 'Paradise' etc is really going to vary on a case-by-case basis, but it is clear that 'The Final Chapter' is an impressive and fitting end to an admiral career and absolutely essential for Dungeon fans.

With a total of eight album tracks, and two re-recorded bonuses, 'The Final Chapter' is a variable smorgasboard of melodic, powerful, thrashy goodness, showing a side of Dungeon previously unrevealed. While not without its share of cheese, the songwriting and musicianship on 'The Final Chapter' is deadly-serious and highly evolved. Songs themselves average almost 7 minutes a pop and easily maintain their firm grip from beginning to end. With probably 40-50 plays behind me at the time of writing this review, I've found myself singing along at select moments every single time I've listened to 'The Final Chapter'. Some of the initial impact has been lost, but the rigid backbone is as strong as ever. In addition to the great vocal melodies and infectious choruses which beg to be accented with listener participation, come the impeccable riff-writing skills of Tim Grose and very expansive, deadly accurate, intricate drumming of Tim Yatras. One word. TIGHT.

'The Final Chapter is quite consistent, but what really catapults it upward are the soaring highlights. For me, the most notable of these are the opening of 'Life Is A Lie', the choruses of 'Fire Of Time' and 'Better Man' and a couple of the alluring riffs and delicious solos, but each listener will find their own favourites. However, being the "I like their old shit better" type of guy that I am, I know full-well that I'm going to spend a lot more time in the future enjoying older Dungeon releases as I've already flogged this latest effort excessively and its began to lose impact. Regardless, 'The Final Chapter' is a great album and a worthy inclusion in an excellent discography. It's rock-solid from beginning to end (save for maybe 'Steelheart' which I still can't bring myself to consider as an album track due to its written-shamelessly-for-the-live-front nature, and lack of depth, but it's doing exactly what it was intelligently written to do, so its still worthy of credit). The re-recorded ''Changing Moods' and 'Don't Leave Me' wrap things up nicely and topping it all off; easily the best album cover to grace a Dungeon release.

If you like Dungeon, you will like 'The Final Chapter'. That's the long and short of it. Be warned, this is the kind of album that's going to get stuck in your head for days on end.


Review by Peter Fundeis, Screaming Symphony

Dungeon’s ‘The Final Chapter’ is an album to finish a musical chapter for a band of the highest rank in Australia’s metal history. Ok, I could now waffle on about support the local music and buy whatever, whatever, and last but not least I could just repay a favour to a band that was always here to help when Screaming Symphony asked for help but instead I decided to make this as simple and honest as I possibly can. First, Lord Tim produced this album single-handedly and you can hear that especially in the guitar department. I don’t want to take anything away from this album by saying that the production is somewhat hindered by budget hurdles but the same applied in the previous efforts of Dungeon and if anything, it caused the Dungeon releases to sound different in an unpolished kind of way. Also the production shortcomings have not stopped the band from getting signed with a world-wide deal and touring all around the world. It is a fact that Lord Tim actually played almost everything you can hear on this disc, apart from the drums. Further, he basically wrote all of the music with the exception of some co-writing of his LORD drummer Tim Yatras for the occasion and ex Dungeon member Stu contributed on one of the songs. Also there have been some guest appearances from his other LORD helpers but let’s face it, this is Lord Tim in good old Dungeon fashion. And good old Dungeon fashion it is. The combination of thrash guitar riffing and slam drumming combined with melody saturated guitar solos and the high pitched clean vocal of LT are just what the doctor ordered. There are a couple of power ballads amongst the 66 minutes of music and by Dungeon standards, quite a bit of keyboards but overall I would go as far as calling this the most colourful and power metal saturated Dungeon release to date. If you are a Dungeon fan, you would have to get this album as this is in my humble opinion, their greatest works to date. Lord Tim has kept the best till last and the 10 tracks of ‘The Final Chapter’ are hammering that fact into all of the listeners brains. Just choosing a song of this Modern Invasion release was kind of difficult especially as there are lots of brilliant songs on here, just check out the monstrous piece called ‘Gallipoli’! Hopefully, after this release there are not just ghosts left behind by the vanishing of one of the greatest metal acts Australia has seen.


RESURRECTION (2005)

Review by Pyro, PyroMusic.net

Take note labels and bands. This is how to re-release an album.

Dungeon are currently riding the waves of success generated by their utterly-successful (and damn good) 'One Step Beyond'. The band (now two lineup changes into the year) have just embarked on a second world tour, highlights of which are set include the fulfilment of a personal invitation by Dave Mustaine for Dungeon to tour with the almighty Megadeth in Europe and a selection of shows with Metal Church. So much activity has been going on in the Dungeon camp these past months that I'm surprised Tim hasn't lost his marbles. What's even more amazing is (although late), time has been found to pretty much re-record, re-mix, re-master and re-package Dungeon's 1999 true debut full-length, 'Resurrection'.

With the newfound injection of fans stemming from the very-late-2004 release of 'One Step Beyond' and a successful stint supporting Megadeth on their Aussie 'Blackmail The Universe' tour, fans after more of Dungeon's studio material didn't have a whole lot to chose from. 'Demolition' has been out of print for years, 'Resurrection' had also sold out, leaving little choice for actual studio albums. 'A Rise To Power' was it. Finally, the album that really solidified Dungeon as the momentous metal force that they are is available again. What's more is that it has been completely re-done and improved in countless areas. What this means is that whether you own the original or missed out on it, you need this album. Period.

This is the way the original 'Resurrection' should have been. The production has gone from sounding cheap and tinny (which I admit was part of the reason I was drawn to the original, especially for some of the guitar tones) to clean, crisp, clear and heavy. Every drum kick punches out with impressive force, each fresh riff absolutely shreds, lead and backing vocals are bang-on, soaring to new heights. It's pretty clear that with technology, the band have also improved dramatically (both vocally and musically) in these past years. Almost everything is new from solos to backing vocals, through to the mix and even a completely new/re-worked 'Let It Go' replacement track 'Severed Ties'. The only cheese that has survived the re-Resurrection outside of lyrical content comes in the form of the album art which has been created by the ever-budget-conscious founding member AND lead guitarist AND vocalist AND bassist AND mixer (Lord) Tim Grose. It wouldn't be Dungeon without cheese. "Save some bucks and do it yourself" seems to be a motto the man lives by and rightfully so. I've got no doubt that if it wasn't for his wise (lack of) spending, Dungeon wouldn't currently be on a world tour. (Rip it up guys and good fucking work! You'll be coming home with thousands of new fans.)

I'm reminded a little of a certain man named George (or perhaps I will just call him Mr Lucas) when listening to 'Resurrection'. I've got no qualms comparing this to the 1997 re-release of the classic Star Wars trilogy. In fact, the improvements and changes are far more forceful on 'Resurrection' than the trio of films combined - it just sounds so fucking good. Enough life has been breathed into every song that owning this truly is a must for those with the original release and those without.

If you haven't heard 'Resurrection' in the past, what you have missed is some of the best Thrash-flavoured Power Metal you're likely to come across. Fantastic vocals combine with very large double doses of guitar wankery (which includes some of the most inventive, original and memorable solos and riffs I have heard a metal record) to deliver quite a remarkable record. Tracks like 'Resurrection', 'I Am Death' and 'Wake Up' are instant classics and are testament to the songwriting skills of the band.

The only possible complaint I can come up with is that the original recording isn't included as a bonus disc (which I admit is asking too much but when the music has changed so drastically, a version for everyone who missed out on the original would really add incentive for making the purchase). Everyone will feel differently about 2005's 'Resurrection' but will agree that overall it absolutely walks all over the original. The only thing I miss is the old sound of 'Wake Up' but in saying that, the new version has had enough life breathed into it that it stands strong as a completely new song and sounds great for it.

Dungeon fans, you must own 'Resurrection'. Every track has had so much fresh flavour injected that it will really feel like you're listening to an entirely different album. If you've never heard Dungeon (I pity you) this is a bloody great place to start. Two very big thumbs up!


Review by JJ La Whore, Sinister Online

OK, bias alert. I am a huge fan of Aussie metal, these guys come from the same small western NSW town as me and my first interest in heavy metal as a youngster was in Iron Maiden. This wicked reissue is on my playlist, a lot.

First off, Tim and the guys back in the day were really not happy with the first incarnation of this record and so while doing the “One Step Beyond” (their second full length album) sessions they re-recorded their first album for their new international label Modern Invasion and it’s so satisfying to hear this record receive the production that modern power metal needs to take it to the international stage.

For those that don’t know, Lord Tim and Stu are probably the best metal guitar duo Australia has ever seen. It’s easy to write sweeping statements like that, but as a guitarist of nearly 20 years and an Aussie metal fan for almost as long, I think I can qualify that statement by merely asking you to check out the first version of this record and compare it to this one. Stunning.

I remember talking with some Sydney metal radio folks back in the day about how awesome this record would have been if it had the production values of an Iced Earth or the like. It’s received them and now it’s perfectly clear to me that Australian metal bands are not only every bit as good as our overseas counterparts, but in some cases, even better.

Reissue/re-recording done right!


ONE STEP BEYOND

Review by Pyro, PyroMusic.net

'No Bullshit. Just Play.' - the 2 second narrative before the opening track of 'One Step Beyond' gets into full swing. I couldn't have thought of a better description to Dungeon's latest offering myself. Having recently caught Dungeon at Metal For The Brain 2005 (killer show too) I feel now is the perfect time to review 'One Step Beyond'. If you're not aware of who Dungeon are you're probably a lost cause so I'm going to get straight into the music.

'One Step Beyond' gets off to a ripper start with the first two songs 'The Power Within' and 'Against The Wind' both of which are perfect examples of everything that makes melodic power great and really provide a fantastic opening to an epic album. Tim's awesome vocals combine seamlessly with his own magic hands and those of Stu, powerful (often quite personal and emotive) lyrics, great bass work and very tight drumming to create some truly memorable melodies.

'The Art Of War' is the third of nine tracks and sure to be a favourite among fans with a sincerely impacting, headbangingly heavy opening and intense riffs to get things moving. It's definitely best enjoyed very loud and really shows the strong thrash influence that has crept onto the album and been integrated brilliantly with the dominating melodies. Another track that's sure to be a fan favourite is patriotic 'Under The Cross' but with such a varying mix of strong tracks which pack some nice surprises, everyone is sure to have different favourites.

The entire album is made to be played live. Dungeon are officially Australia's best live band and it's really no wonder why. The tracks of 'One Step Beyond' feature so much energy and are executed with such a level of skill that they sound as good live as in the studio. 'One Step Beyond' goes from strength to strength with brilliant riffing, fantastic solos, strong melodic vocals, catchy choruses and intense drumming. Lord Tim produced the entire album himself (much to the dismay of his sleeping patterns I'm sure) and has done a great and very professional job. The overall sound of the album is clean, crisp and clear and impacting. In addition to the beautiful harmonies is some seriously heavy shit and strong elements of thrash. Dungeon's ability to marry melody with speed and power with such adept skill is testament to their brilliance as both musicians and songwriters.

One of 2004's last releases is also one of the years best. Congratulations to Tim, Stu, Stevo and Dakk on a fantastic album and good luck to the new (new) members upholding the brilliant level of quality music Dungeon are famous for.

If you're a fan of melodic power metal or great metal in general, you'd be a disgrace to yourself and your fellow metalheads if you do not own a copy of 'One Step Beyond'. Album number three from Dungeon is their heaviest, thrashiest, greatest offering to date and is a remarkable piece of Aussie metal which solidifies Dungeon's place as one of the greatest metal bands on earth.

'One Step Beyond' is magic.


Review by Goreripper, LOUD! Online

Amid drastic line-up changes and some serious overseas interest, one of Australia's top true metal forces have unleashed their hugely-anticipated third album. Delving into their melting-pot of influences, Dungeon has come up with eight tracks of pure metal class on One Step Beyond, a solid and very fitting follow-up to what is still in the reviewer's mind one of the very best Australian metal albums of all. If that's not enough usage of the word 'metal' in this review already, stay tuned as there's more to come. One Step Beyond is certain to mark a real turning point for Dungeon. As their second truly international release, there's a lot riding on it, and the band shows they're up to the task immediately with 'The Power Within' opening proceedings with a crunching guitar sound and some effective European-style multipart vocal harmonies building a catchy chorus, aspects that are mirrored strongly in the next track 'Against the Wind'. 'The Art of War' is the first of the real stand outs, the first song from the album to feature in live sets and retaining all of its glory in its studio form, showing the further flowering of Dungeon's more thrash metal direction. That move is near-perfected in the blistering 'Surface Tension' and its Gothenburg-inspired guitar melodies. The more introspective 'The Hunger' is nicely positioned between these two, the closest thing this band is likely to get to a real ballad and making for some good contrast. On the other side of 'Surface Tension' is the mini pirate epic 'Tarranno Del Mar', perhaps One Step Beyond's true highlight with its somewhat elaborate arrangement that infuses all of Dungeon's recent stylistic flirtations. The title track blazes a trail of smoke as the band lays rubber like never before and the album ends on another high note as Dungeon dives into Australian history for inspiration with 'Under the Cross', another epically-structured piece that tells the tale of the Eureka Stockade in the 150th anniversary year of that event. Dungeon aren't reinventing the wheel here but One Step Beyond is wildly catchy heavy metal that features typically breathtaking, wrist-breaking guitar work, tight, solid and economical timekeeping and simply great songs. Metal fans everywhere who aren't interested in trends or genre restrictions should quite rightly love this.


UNDER THE RISING SUN

Review by Karyn Hamilton, ProgPower Online

Under scrutiny here is the first DVD from Australia’s premier heavy metal act, Dungeon. Titled Under the Rising Sun, it was – as the title suggests – recorded during their Japanese tour in early 2003, while they were a part of a melodic metal festival playing in several cities around the country. Included in this package is the recording of one of the the shows (played in Kawasaki), behind the scenes footage, two video clips, and a bonus cd which contains the audio of the live show.

There are a few important differences between Dungeon Under the Rising Sun and most other DVDs on the market. Most notably, this is an account of Dungeon’s first ever overseas tour; in general, most bands won’t release a DVD until they’re a little more road-seasoned and have been doing the circuit thing for a while. This being Dungeon’s virgin trip overseas gives it a distinctly different feel to those ‘experienced’ DVDs. Watching them get excited just by being in a different country is a big part of that, and they make a big deal out of the fact that the Japanese fans were so excited to see them (in Australia we don’t give a damn, you see *grin*) - that’s something you definitely won’t see if you watch something by the Metallicas, Dios or Iron Maidens out there. It gives the whole thing a vibrant boyishness which is really engaging.

It’s an extremely intimate DVD, with a lot of behind the scenes footage included, most of which is made up of the lads’ misadventures on the streets of Japan. Their crew is also given a lot more attention than you’d usually see - so we’re invited to share the tour with the whole entourage, as they tease tour guides, discover giant kegs of beer, endure horrendously long car drives, search for food, look at girls, find food, get their tour guide drunk, sign things, look at more girls, and generally goof around on their off-time. The amount of extra footage – altogether making up a roughly 45-minute ‘rockumentary’ – partly offsets the fact that the actual musical setlist is pretty short, only eight songs. This is a bit of a disappointment as far as the DVD is concerned, but because they were just one act among many in a melodic metal festival, it’s to be expected.

That brings me to the actual concert, and the other major difference between this DVD and most others. In the overwhelming majority of music DVDs I’ve seen, nothing sounds all that different to what the band does in the studio. Oh, there’s always little things thrown in there, but the overall sound is much the same. Not so here. Dungeon’s style can best be described as a melodic power/thrash metal crossover; in the studio, I think they lean more towards the power side. On the stage, they become more of a high-energy thrash act, where everything is played with an extra measure of speed and aggression that transforms their whole sound and attitude. Prowling unleashed on the huge stage of Kawasaki’s Club Citta (watch the rockumentary to see their pre-show reaction to the size of the stage), they burn up the venue with characteristic energy and charisma.

The setlist combines elements from the then-newly-released A Rise to Power (‘Netherlife’, ‘Insanity’s Fall’, the superb ‘Lost in the Light’ and ‘Traumatised’) with the classics of Demolition and Resurrection (‘Legend of Huma’, ‘Resurrection’, ‘Paradise’, and ‘I Am Death’). Now, at the beginning of this review I might have given the impression that this is a show from a naïve, inexperienced band – not the case! On their home soil Dungeon are veteran performers and know how to put on a hell of a show. In Japan this was no different and they sound and look awesome. Production-wise, there is a bit of camera work I didn’t like, with a few of the angles appearing washed-out or grainy. Overall though, it’s an extremely entertaining show.

This isn’t the most polished product you will see on the music DVD shelves, not by a long way, but it’s got to be one of the most fun. Join the band and their crew as they explore and entertain Japan – it’s well worth a look.


Review by Liam Phillips, Northern Shadows 'Zine

Sydney based Dungeon are one of the longest serving acts on the Australian metal scene and despite enough line-up changes to rival Black Sabbath, the ever steadfast singer/guitarist Lord Tim has kept his project well and truly alive through some pretty turbulent times. Thankfully, the fortunes of Dungeon have changed and things just seem to be getting better.

In 2003 the band managed to secure some dates in Japan, a country in which they have had a large and loyal fanbase for over a decade. It is here, in the famous metal venue Club Citta in Kawasaki, Tokyo, that Under The Rising Sun was filmed and is presented on this DVD.

Dungeon’s music, a unique blend of power, thrash, neo-classical and traditional metal elements is the sort of music which is impossible not to enjoy live, and if there is one thing you can be guaranteed of with a Dungeon show (apart from Lord Tim’s very holy jeans), it is having a good time. This concert captures the Dungeon live feel perfectly, although on a much larger scale than Australian audiences would be used to. The crowd are really into the songs and the band seem to having a blast on stage. Dungeon classics ‘Paradise’ and ‘I am Death’ are played , while the show opens with the lengthier and tempo varying ‘Legend of Huma’ and closes with the thrashy and frantic (and my favourite) ‘Traumatised’. It’s a great, solid Dungeon show from beginning to end, with no disappointments.

The DVD incluides the show and a 45 minute tour diary, which is basically the band, management and road crew fucking around in Japan. It’s amusing to watch, provides a fun look at the tour and the band members in general, and doesn’t overstay its welcome. The greatest feature of the DVD is that you can watch this on its own, the show on its own, or the two of them interspersed together. Nothing makes me madder than watching a live DVD in which the show is constatntly interrupted, so well done to whoever thought of that feature. My only gripe is the use of some digital visual effects during the concert, but it’s not a problem that detracts from the enjoyment of the show. Also included is a video of ‘Ressurrection’ edited from the live footage and the full ‘The Other Side’ clip.

This is really great stuff, and it’s fantastic to finally see an Aussie metal band get a DVD on the market.


RISING POWER

Review by Goreripper, LOUD! Online

Less than a year since Dungeon released their sensational second album and the band has followed up that success with this 9-track quickie, intended as a promotional tool for the band’s Japanese tour but also available for their fans here in Australia. Rising Power is a collection of re-worked and re-mixed older tunes, a bunch of covers and CD-ROM component featuring the Japan-only conceptual video for ‘The Other Side’. The first two tracks, a slightly reworked version of ‘Insanity’s Fall’ and the album stand-out ‘Lost in the Light’, will be familiar to those who own A Rise to Power. Following them are three tracks that featured on the Resurrection album, namely the title track, the fan favourite 'Paradise' and 'No Way Out'. The first two of these are new recordings and the third is a remix, giving them all a better, brighter sound than they had previously. The remainder of the CD is made up of covers, and the Dungeon boys serve up quite a variety. The first is a striking run through Blondie’s “Call Me” (a version of which appeared on the first Dungeon demo), left over from the ‘Resurrection’ sessions and tweaked a little for inclusion here. Surprisingly, this works very well, as does their version of Toto’s 'Hold the Line'. It’s not that often that an unashamedly metal band can pull off a convincing cover of a rock track, but Dungeon does so with these songs, and you could hardly expect them to fail with Iron Maiden’s 'Caught Somewhere in Time'. The Dungeonised version of W.A.S.P.’s 'Wild Child' doesn’t come off quite as well, though, but you can’t have everything. While it’s not the greatest clip ever made, the real gem here is the included video track, 'The Other Side'. Made especially for Japan, it features the band playing on a chessboard while a screen behind them portrays the rise-and-fall story of a rock star burn-out (played with obvious relish by Metal Warriors head Steve Ravic). The video is the real reason to get Rising Power if you don’t live in Japan, but though most of the songs are already available elsewhere, it’s still pretty worthwhile, even if it’s just to hear Lord Tim singing Deborah Harry.


Review by Karyn Hamilton, ProgPower Online

Rising Power is the first official compilation album from Aussie power band Dungeon, celebrating the recent release of A Rise to Power (2003). It is additionally dedicated to their Japanese fans, who were graced with a tour soon before it was due to release. Rising Power comprises of a number of re-recordings of some of their best songs to date; also included are several covers, and a bonus video section.

Once again, Dungeon has floored me with the sheer power and energy of their work, even though much of this album is stuff I’ve heard before. It’s great to hear alternate versions of familiar work with extra bits added in to look out for. I definitely approve of the songs chosen for this compilation – all very quality tracks, particularly ‘Resurrection’ and ‘Lost in the Light’, two of my favourite Dungeon songs to date.

For those who are unfamiliar with their work, Rising Power would be a useful introduction to this fantastic power band, providing excellent samples from all their albums so far. For established fans, definitely check it out! As well as the familiar tracks, there are some intriguing covers included with this release. I have to say that Lord Tim (lead vocals, guitar) makes a marvellous Deborah Harry in Blondie’s ‘Call Me’, a re-recording of a cover which also appears on their rare debut Demolition (1996). The inclusion of Toto’s ‘Hold the Line’ was also a definite eyebrow raiser, the well known pop-rock song given a power metal edge that is a thing of true beauty. I think all pop should be exposed to a generous dash of power metal every now and again; don’t you agree?

If you do get your hands on Rising Power, make sure you pop the disc into your PC to check out the video section. As well as a greeting from the members of the band (again, useful if one is unfamiliar with them), it contains a video clip of ‘The Other Side’, one of the tracks from A Rise to Power – a great addition, though its theme is a tad unhappy. The clip follows the story of the apparently meteoric rise and dismal fall of a rock-metal star, with certain parallels drawn between his stellar beginnings and Dungeon as they are today. I can only assume (and hope) they don’t intend upon going the same way.

Overall, I’d like to say thanks to Tim, Stu (guitar), Stevo (drums) and Dakk (bass), for this altogether nifty gift to their fans – the Japanese fans in particular, I suppose, but why should they get all the fun? Top stuff.

PPO also has a review of the full album, A Rise to Power, which goes with this compilation. Remember to check that out in our database as well.


A RISE TO POWER

Review by Spiritech, Blastwave 'zine

There are few if any Metal bands as respected within the Aussie scene as Sydney Power Metallers Dungeon. The band are able to play on any type of Metal bill around the country and win over the audience, and 'A Rise To Power' is a testament to their hard work, as well as their admirable musicianship and songwriting skills.

Basically, the band play an addictive, highly melodic brand of Power Metal that owes a significant debt to the likes of Iron Maiden, Helloween and Gamma Ray, but still retains their own sense of identity through their excellent melodic sensibilities and sharp songwriting. They even illustrate some welcome variety in their songwriting approach from outside of the traditional Power Metal palette, particularly with the Melodic Death/Thrash influences evident on 'Traumatised'. With the members being huge fans of bands such as Soilwork, perhaps this is an area they could explore more in the future. Regardless, Dungeon are proud of their roots and influences and aren't scared to show it either! They don't pretend to be mind-numbingly groundbreaking, they just love what they do, and this joy translates into their music, and in turn to the listener.

Dungeon have always possessed some impressive musical skill. Lead vocalist/ guitarist Lord Tim shows why he has been dubbed 'Australia's guitar-slinging answer to Ronnie James Dio', with plenty of passionate, operatic-style vocals that are heavily influenced by Bruce Dickinson, but don't sound like merely a carbon copy of the Maiden frontman. He also sounds reminiscent of Queensryche vocalist Geoff Tate on the likes of 'Netherlife', but again, he is only an influence and LT is not shamelessly derivative of Tate's distinctive style.

The impressive, speedy double guitar attack he forms with Stu Marshall is one of 'A Rise To Power's' main strengths, with plenty of blazing soloing and incredibly melodic leads. See 'Stormchaser', 'Lost In The Light', 'Where Madness Hides' and the title track for some of the pair's best work! The perfectly executed guitars are complemented nicely by the rhythm section, well-placed keyboards and tight harmonies, giving Dungeon a very dense sound. The production is also top-notch, and as a result, Dungeon have produced an entire album of world-class Power Metal. Songs such as 'Life Is Black' also show a more emotionally charged side of the band that is no less effective.

At just over an hour in length, the album has no shortage of quality music, but it never drags, solely due to the band's ability as songwriters. The likes of 'Insanity's Fall' and "The Other Side" showcase the band’s excellent balance of melody, instrumental skill and the incorporation of their influences better than most. 'The Prophecy', the short instrumental track that begins 'A Rise To Power' is a fitting and quite memorable way to begin the album, before the peace is shattered by the blistering guitars and catchy melodies of the title track, which is one of the definite highlights of this release.

Some editions of 'A Rise To Power' also feature faithful covers of both Iron Maiden's 'Wasted Years' and Queensryche's 'Queen Of The Reich', allowing the band to pay homage to two of its two major influences. It's a cool bonus for fans as well as allowing the band to have some extra fun in the studio at the same time. I already very much look forward to the release of their next album, 'One Step Beyond' for another dose of (proudly) Aussie melodic Heavy Metal!


Review by EC, Maximum Metal

I was really expecting generic, paint by numbers power metal out of this act. Lets face it, their names are Dungeon and they have a title called 'A Rise To Power' for their new album on Limb Music. I'll admit the album cover really sucked me in (Dirk Illing rules!) after I saw it at a local music store. I said what the hey and shelled out my $13.

After playing this record for the 110th time this year, its really hit home that Dungeon are in a league of their own. For starters, there isn't alot of Heavy Metal Thunder Down Under...meaning heavy metal from Australia for the slower metal heads out there. Pegazus certainly comes to mind for that scene, and now Dungeon has thrust themselves on the wide metal fan base. With the newest album from Dungeon, 'A Rise To Power', this mature act has established themselves as the next wave of good thought provoking power metal groups.

I understand that this act has released several albums thus far in limited quantities. I for one had never heard of the band until Limb picked these guys up. From what I gather out of this new album, Dungeon are really hell-bent on proving they can be the best in the modern era of power metal.

With great epic selections like 'Stormchaser', 'Where Madness Hides', and the fantastic opening title track, this band prove right away that they are not Helloween clones. This music offering is one tight, well oiled machine of intense metal gallops, icy cold at the heart yet red hot in speed and delivery. The chorus for the title track as well as favorite 'Stormchaser' could have been taken right out of the Styx history books. Think of Styx classics like 'Renegade' put in a Helloween blender. Get the picture?

'Netherlife (Black Roses Die)' sounds like fast paced Saxon, while 'The Other Side' is pure Tate & company Queensryche. I love the modern influences of bands like Tad Morose, and Dungeon take what they can from the present, but add a huge dose of mid 80s era German power and speed metal. Lord Tim's vocals sound alot like Tad Morose' frontman Urban Breed, which is a big plus in my book. The group also take time out to cover Ryche's 'Queen Of The Reich' in grand fashion, and also stop to do a tribute to black thrash with 'Traumatised', which is a big surprise considering this band plays classic traditional metal.

I expect big things from this band now that they are on a respectable label. Limb are doing great things right now and soon you might be able to pick these albums up at your local K-Mart. No kidding, I've seen Limb stuff in several different shopping malls here on the east coast of the US. Funny what you might run into these days.

Pick this one up for more than just another cool album cover!


Review by Goreripper, LOUD! Online

Dungeon’s long-awaited new album is an absolute killer. From the fantastic artwork to the incredible production to the glorious swathes of metal the band carves out across its one-hour-plus running time, there can be no denying that A Rise to Power is unquestionably one of the albums of the year, and quite possibly one of the best examples of Australian metal yet recorded. Guitar fans will absolutely love this; the shredding is almost unbridled in some places and jaw-droppingly unbelievable in tracks like ‘Lost in the Light’, ‘Where Madness Hides’ and the title cut, but never does Dungeon allow histrionic guitar-playing to exist merely as an excuse for a song. Indeed A Rise to Power is as good an example of substance over style and restraint over self-indulgence as one is likely to find in the power metal field, so densely populated as it is with bands with too much show and no go. For A Rise to Power has songs too, a whole album of them, and so many good ones it’s hard to pick the best. Between the straight-forward gallop of ‘Stormchaser’, the elaborate mini-epics like ‘Netherlife’ and the strikingly un-Dungeonlike thrash metal work-out ‘Traumatised’, this album is one headbanging delight after another that just gets better and better with every listen. No stone has been left unturned in Dungeon’s quest to make an album that could stand alongside the world’s best: immaculate production, breathtaking multi-part vocal harmonies, feverish drumming, awesome songs that are both melodic and heavy and, as noted, loads and loads of brilliant guitar solos! Capping it all off are covers of Maiden’s ‘Wasted Years’ and Queensryche’s ‘Queen of the Reich’ that are executed with the same alarming Dungeon precision as the rest of the album. A Rise to Power is, simply, amazing.


Review by Karyn Hamilton, ProgPower Online

...Wow. After listening to A Rise to Power, the thunderous Australian power group Dungeon has left me with not much to say but ...wow. Actually, I do have more to say, or else this wouldn’t be much of a review. But the first thought to penetrate the blissful ruckus surrounding my brain was definitely ...wow.

Pre-released 2002 in Australia by local label Metal Warriors, A Rise to Power is due to be officially released worldwide in June 2003 by LMP. This third full release from Dungeon is definitely one to go the distance and I’d recommend it to anyone. It’s chunky, it’s impressive, and it’s got balls – big bronzed Aussie ones. This is music to keep the neighbours up with and shake the foundations of the house. A lass could get off just on the thumping bassy vibrations coming through the floor. In fact, if anyone ever happens to be at my home, if you hear A Rise to Power a-rocking, don’t come a-knocking.

Kidding! Though I did make you wonder, didn’t I...

For much of its length, A Rise to Power is a frenetic, technically astonishing, full-bodied masterpiece. Beginning with the short semi-orchestral introduction ‘The Prophecy’ (which includes some very well-integrated flute from guest artist Kylie Groom), the album starts with an atomic bang, and carries the same energy and force throughout. About the only track which breaks the frantic pace is the soulful instrumental ‘Life is Black’, a half-time interlude which allows the listener a short breathing space before the tempo picks up again.

The mood reminds me somewhat of earlier Angra material, but with a fuller, richer sound (Dungeon uses wonderfully complex instrumentation, with synthesised and real classical instruments and up to fifteen simultaneous guitar dubs featured on this album). More recently they can be compared to symphonic masters such as Blind Guardian and Helloween. The best track in my mind is ‘Lost in the Light’, which includes some truly blistering musicianship and is a good example of the quality of the full album. About the only number I actually dislike is ‘Traumatised’, a thrashy dark piece with distorted growling vocals and disturbing lyrics. If you can get hold of it, the Australian release of this album also includes two quality bonus tracks, both covers – Iron Maiden’s ‘Wasted Years’ and Queensryche’s ‘Queen of the Reich’.

Yes, at times A Rise to Power is a tad pretentious both lyrically and musically, but when the frontman’s stage name is Lord Tim, that has to be expected. Overall this is a very solid, exciting release that I’d easily recommend to both established fans and newcomers to Dungeon. Go Aussie power!


Review by Ian Busch, Primal Agony

When it comes to Australian metal, not a lot of bands stand out from the rest. There are a few bands which have made a name for themselves (Destroyer 666 and Pegazus to name a couple) but there are many more acts which haven't hit the big time. It's an under-appreciated genre in a country that is often loath to support its own work, but over the last few years things have been improving. After signing with Metal Warriors it certainly appears that Sydney boys Dungeon could be the band to spearhead the Aussie metal movement for the next few years. Broken Hill product and vocalist/guitarist Lord Tim formed the band in 1989 and is the only original member of the band. A plethora of line-up changes later and the band have finally released their second album, after their 1999 effort Resurrection. If Tim and the band (the current line-up consists of Stevo on drums, Dakk on bass and Stu on guitar & ex-guitarist Dale Corney contributes a couple of solos as well as co-writing a handful of tracks) wanted to make a serious assault on the metal scene and the European market in particular, then A Rise To Power shouldn't hurt their cause at all. The title track is a barnstorming opener and the epic sets the pace for the rest of the album. 'Netherlife (Black Roses Die)' continues the Dragonlance theme previously seen in Resurrection's 'Legend of Huma', while 'The Other Side', about the pitfalls of success, is a change of pace lyrically from the rest of the songs. This could be a prime candidate for a breakthrough hit, but that could also be said for a few other songs on the album as well. An undoubted highlight is 'Traumatised', a searing thrash masterpiece that features Lord Tim showing what a versatile vocalist he is. 'Life Is Black' is also something of a hidden gem on the second half of the album. The only real problem with the album is that some of the tracks smack of being generic power metal ('Insanity's Fall' and 'Stormchaser' are examples of this), but thankfully the band makes up for it with a great guitar solo or a crunching rhythm section reminiscent of an idling Harley Davidson. One can't review the album without mentioning the awesome bonus tracks, though. 'Wasted Years' is as good as, if not better than, those songs by more established artists found on the Iron Maiden tribute albums released a couple of years back, and 'Queen of the Reich' has never sounded better since Queensryche first recorded it all those years ago. It's mind-boggling how good Dungeon would be if they were just a cover band! A Rise To Power is a gem of an album - slightly flawed, yes, but the performance of the band more than makes up for what in the end are some slight misjudgements. With a stable line-up Dungeon has the potential to be Australia's most successful metal band, and if it all works out for them then historians will pinpoint 2002 as being a pivotal year for them.


RESURRECTION

Review by Goreripper, LOUD! Online

At the risk of sounding like a hack, this CD hasn't been out of the stereo since it came into my possession. Like any of the large number of fans this band has amassed in the last two years since they became a regular player on the Sydney circuit, I have been hanging on the release of this baby. It did not let me down (well okay, I actually heard it about six months ago so I knew it wouldn't, but you get the idea). There is not another band in Australia making music like this, at least not this well and with this kind of sound. Resurrection has been produced to within an inch of its life, yet without overdoing it; a clean, soaring sound with each instrument and voice sharply focused. Musically, Dungeon is classic-style power metal which hints at the likes of anything that's coming out of western Europe these days and would easily not only stand beside most of it but sweep it aside. This is furiously strong material, from the Iced Earth-like 'Wake Up' (the intro to 'Judgment Day' hints at them too) to the epic 'Legend of Huma' with shades of Blind Guardian in its use of multi-layered vocal harmonies, to the steaming guitar interplay of Lord Tim and Dale Corney, Juz' galloping bass lines and Steve Moore's massive double kick thunder. The twin guitar attack from a pair of very gifted players also makes this a considerably heavy album too, without losing something of a saleable edge, best evidenced in the fist-raising 'Paradise' which bears an almost Maidenish commercial sensibility and a glorious amount of blazing licks and lead trading from Tim and Dale. Any one of the soon to be legion fans who've seen Dungeon live might be thrown at first by the slight rearrangement of a few of the tracks on Resurrection, but this will only be for a moment until the huge hooks reel you in and drag you to power metal heaven. Dungeon rule.


OTHER RELEASES

RESURRECTION DEMO (1997) review by metal-reviews.com

A slashing Euro-speed band hailing from Australia, Dungeon comes across like the most intricate of Malmsteen, Helloween, and Hammerfall, and at times with the heaviness of a Maiden or Rage. In other words, this stuff smokes! Crisp, fast and sharp guitars dot the landscape, with intricate four-string pounding and a rapid double-bass accompaniment. A very polished sound as well, and tremendous technical accolades throughout. And this is the demo!! 'No Way Out' starts things off in fast fashion, and the nice acoustic-to-metal intro of 'Judgment Day' reminds of the glory days of Maiden, Priest, and Metal Church. Speed descends... 'Wake Up' is a solid slab, and 'Fight' is power melodic metal. The vox and intricity give the melody, as there are excellent time changes throughout, and the soaring solo and backing rhythm remind of K.K. and Glenn... After a mood-enhancing keyboard intro, a solid power riff gets 'The Legend of Huma' slashing away. Two impressive covers are also showcased, in Queensryche's 'Queen of the Reich' and Maiden's 'Prowler'. Nice work on both. Vocalist (Lord) Tim Grose has a tremendous metal voice, fluctuating his range and motion between Tate, Dickinson, and other golden-but-power throated frontmen. Looking forward to the full-length release. Hey, Nuclear Blast---ya reading this??

TRACK LIST: No Way Out/Queen of the Reich/Judgment Day/Wake Up/Fight/The Legend of Huma/Prowler


DON'T LOOK BACK DEMO (1992) review by Stuart Coupe, OTS Magazine

... Their first demo was recorded in Jan '92 at Nu-Town Studios. Aparrently within a week they recorded and produced 19 songs. The band lists influences like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Anthrax, Metallica, Europe and Skid Row - they're a folk duo, right! Extremely impressive they are, too, especially if you believe hard rock is the folk music of the '90s. As I've said many times in this column, this stuff leaves me cold, but I hope I can still recognise when it's done well. For a demo, this is mighty alright, and to these ears pretty close to releaseable as is. Dungeon are a classy, sophisticated and textured hard rock band. Not exactly slick, but certainly a long way from raw. There's songwriting credits, but there's a ripper song called 'Hold Me Now'. Each song features lots of guitar histrionics and singalong choruses. You know, the usual hard rock stuff, but these guys have got it down. Look, I really don't know the area, but Dungeon sound better than half the hard rock bands with record deals. Simple as that.

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