The Italian progressive metal band Odd Dimension happily returned to the scene with the release of their long-awaited third studio album called `The Blue Dawn’ [out 26 March, 2021]. For those who do remember Odd Dimension in their early days when the debut album `Symmetrical’  and follow up `The Last Embrace To Humanity’  made a mark on the international progressive metal scene, will be in for a pleasant surprise. Not only has the line-up changed and has the band matured in their song writing and performance skills, also a few international well-known musicians are present on `The Blue Dawn’. Like keyboard wizard Derek Sherinian [former Dream Theater], who did his incredible magic in the epic title track. `The Blue Dawn’ touches different progressive metal era’s, supported by a lyrical concept, displays a fresh and adventurous sound, powerful vocals and instrumental virtuosity.
HeadBangers LifeStyle’s Liselotte `Lilo’ Hegt contacted bass player Gigi Andreone and drummer Marco Lazzarini for a speedy update.
,,We realized we had some very good material here and it made us wanting it to sound in a more personal and dynamic way.''-Gigi Andreone
`The Blue Dawn’ is Odd Dimension’s new third album, which also announces a new era for the band. Was it time for a change and also to set the bar higher with this album? Gigi: ,,First let me salute all HeadBangers LifeStyle readers! Well, the last couple of years were very intense because a lot of changes happened, in both our personal and musical life. When our two original members drummer Federico Pennazzato and singer Manuel Candiotto left the band in 2015 because they wanted to focus more on their personal life and other work projects, the rest of us, our guitarist Gianmaria Saddi, our keyboard player Gabriele Ciaccia and myself as the bass player, had to figure out what we wanted to do. What do we want to become as a band in the future? That took us some time but once we started to work on the reconstruction of our sound it was inspiring. I must say our new drummer Marco Lazzarini was actually the starting point of that. He immediately understood what this band needed, as we are sharing the same passion for creating music, we usually work together on songs. While we were working on the instrumental parts of the new tracks, we realized we had some very good material here and it made us wanting it to sound in a more personal and dynamic way, so it would reflect our actual conception of music in a better way. When we contacted Jan [Manenti, The Unity] after that to complete the new line-up, we absolutely were convinced that his voice and his musical skills were the right ones for our new material. We worked very hard on this album for about two years and we are happy to hear you think the bar was raised with that.’’
What makes Jan the right choice for the band and how would you describe his vocal performance, vocal capabilities, creativity and his stage presence? Marco: ,,I think Jan was a great choice to be the lead singer of this band because he is an astonishing performer on our new album. I remember when Gabriele and I met him for the first time a couple of years ago during a gig when he was singing with our band Secret Sphere just for a couple of songs. I was totally blown away by his presence; how he owned the stage, it was so charismatic and his voice was so very powerful. I think Jan is the complete package as a singer: he has dynamics, power, vocal extension and all these features do fit perfectly with how we write progressive music. My personal conviction is that he made an immense work on `The Blue Planet’.’’
Odd Dimension clearly doesn’t present 3-chords rock ‘n roll songs but longer tracks that are connecting with the progressive metal genre, having different dynamics, slight complex textures and an arsenal of melodies. I am sure your songs aren’t written over night. How does the average Odd Dimension song writing and recording process looks like and have you done things different this time? Marco: ,,You got that right, writing this kind of music needs patience and is very time-consuming and every song is a kind of 'little odyssey'. We wrote almost the entire material directly in our rehearsal room, all together working on each detail. Sometimes we spent hours and hours just to find the right way to go from a bridge to the chorus, just for one song. At the end of this process, we recorded some pre-production for Jan, who wrote vocal lines taking a cue from the lyrics and the concept previously written by Gigi. Same fate met the recording session, it lasts so many months of work, during which we decided to involve other singers and musicians, like Simona Aileen and Roberto Tiranti, among the others. All of this, just to reach a final product to be totally proud of, and I can say that is exactly what happened.’’
How important is the lyrical content for the band and what can you say about the lyrics of `The Blue Dawn’? Marco: ,,Once we completed the instrumental shell of all the songs, we figured out that the music could have told a story, so naturally we started to think about a concept album. Gigi was the man on this, he was great to imagine a dystopic adventure between interstellar landscapes, whose characters steadily fight to survive and travel just to find a place that could house them for a new era to come, just like the Blue Planet. But a forbidden love could change all of that… How this story is going to end? Come and discover it just by listening to the whole album!’’
How did keyboardist Derek Sherinian [former Dream Theater] ended up in the title track and what do you specific like about his playing style? Gigi: ,,We all are long-time fans of Derek’s sound in all the projects he worked with and when the new songs developed we started thinking of a special gift for ourselves and for our listeners. The atmospheres in the songs, particularly the title track, reminded us of some dreaming parts we heard on the Dream Theater `Falling Into Infinity’ album as well as on many of Derek’s solo works. We thought maybe we could try to get in touch with him and ask if he wanted to collaborate on one of our songs. So we did and he accepted. That’s what you hear on the title track, obviously a right – first time take, he immediately understood the spirit of the song, starting from the final solo to the rest of the parts he played. We particularly love his Hammond and Moog sound, he’s an incredible musician, human being and performer.’’
Another guest on the album is Labyrinth singer Roberto Tiranti in the song `Flags of Victory’. What was the idea of this collaboration? Gigi: ,,The concept behind the album songs tells the story of two main characters; Marcus, interpreted by Jan, and Eloise, interpreted by another friend and extraordinary singer Simona Aileen, who are travelling through space to find energy and raw materials necessary for their life, facing various difficulties during these journeys that will also lead them to create new forms of life to support their own growth. So various characters were born during the drafting of the concept and we decided to host some old friends to interpret their roles. Roberto Tiranti is a long-time friend of us and in our opinion one of the most versatile and expressive singers of the European rock and metal scene, so it was a great pleasure when he accepted the role of Eristo for this concept.’’
`The Blue Dawn’ is highly recommended to fans of Rush, Fates Warning, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Queensrÿche and Riverside and I guess also Dream Theater. Do you agree on that and are these bands an important inspiration for the band or is there more to the story of Odd Dimension? Marco: ,,I totally agree with you. Dream Theater, Symphony X, Rush are some of the bands that often inspire us, but also the others you mention. I think this album could be the one for those who love that sound, because you can hear influences starting from the historical 70s progressive rock up to its natural evolution during the 80s and 90s, most known as prog metal.’’
What are the key elements on `The Blue Dawn’ that in your opinion makes it worth for the progressive metal fan to give the album at least a onetime listen? Marco: ,,One of the key elements of `The Blue Dawn’ is that we wrote all the songs together, month after month, and this is the result of five brains, ten hands and one voice. We live in a time in musical history where we write songs individually, at home just facing our PC screen… and I’m not just talking about this last damned 2020, no this way to write music happened at least the last 10-15 years. `TBD’ is made out of teamwork as a real band. Other than that, it comes down to personal preferences: someone could get more emotional listening to it, someone less, but I believe everyone could hear the common thread from the first track to the last.’’
How is the situation in Italy at the moment when it comes to live shows? Are there any plans made to promote the new album live or online? Marco: ,,The situation is quite similar to the majority of all the other European countries and the rest of the world. Live shows are totally left off and no one has a real prospect of a new start. It is hard to imagine a next future where we can all play live again or just simply go to a concert, just like we did before this pandemic. It will take time, but we have made new video clips and some other promotional material to be released during the upcoming months. With that we are trying to fill this void, hoping for better times as soon as possible.’’
As a final: What is the band’s motto and what keeps Odd Dimension motivated to continue? Gigi: ,,We don’t have a particular motto, but let me go back to the words of the leader of one of my favourite bands from the 90s, Mr. Chuck Schuldiner from the extraordinary band called Death, who used to say: ‘Support music not rumours’. I think that in these times in which everyone has an incredibly fast access to media, socials etc., it is important to support bands which create and love the music they do, before thinking to their image or social campaigns... This is not a controversy but a desire to return to the roots of music, sound research and playing an instrument with passion. This is the spirit that has always kept our band together and alive with the passion for progressive rock and metal as a catalyst of our passions, fears, joys and sorrows.’’
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