Manifesto For Futurism

Dali's Dilemma

Magna Carta Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Now that Dream Theater is arguably the most popular progressive rock band of the day, it was inevitable that bands would start to model their sound after Dream Theater. I know the old saying, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", but sometimes I wish that bands who tried to emulate the success of others would still throw a little originality into the mix.

In the case of Dali's Dilemma, that originality is there - in the form of brief instrumentals that showcase the musicianship of this band. And while their disc Manifesto For Futurism is enjoyable, it still sounds a lot like Dream Theater to my old ears - and that's a shame, 'cause I think they could do so much better following their own road.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I have no doubt about the musical talents this group possesses. Vocalist Matthew Bradley helps to power the songs into their own dimension, while guitarist Patrick Reyes puts his six-string through a virtual workout during the course of this album. Drummer Jeremy Colson and bassist Steve Reyes each throw in the complicated chops when the moment calls for it, but never forget the key to a band is a solid rhythm section. Rounding out the group is keyboardist Matt Guillory, who gets a wonderful chance to show his musical knowledge on the track "Whispers", a mild but wonderful surprise at that point in the album.

In fact, the two instrumental tracks on Manifesto For Futurism, "Whispers" and "Andromeda Sunrise," do the best jobs of demonstrating just how good of a musical unit that Dali's Dilemma is. No slam is meant against Bradley, but by removing the vocals, even for the two minute span of each song, the natural beauty is brought out.

This isn't to say that the tracks with vocals are bad, but when the whole band goes at it, the end result sounds like a clone of Dream Theater. Tracks like "Within A Stare," "Living In Fear," "Ashen Days" and "Can't You See" all follow the prog-rock supergroup blueprint, yet a little something is lost in the translation. Maybe it's that we've heard this before?

And it's not that Dali's Dilemma isn't trying, or that they're blatantly copying; I don't believe either case. But they do need to inject a little more of their own voice into the music in order to break free from the chains of the "sound-alike" band tag and stake out their own musical claim. Unfortunately, I can't tell them exactly what they have to do to achieve this. It might be a cop-out to make this statement, but when they make that adjustment, they'll know it... and we'll know it.

Manifesto For Futurism is still an enjoyable prog-rock album that showcases a band with a lot of promise and even more talent, and if you're a Dream Theater fan, you'll love this album. But Dali's Dilemma show in the end that there still is work to be done.

Rating: B-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Magna Carta Records, and is used for informational purposes only.