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Title: (if) - the Memento Ritual Project
Artist: Diary of Dreams
Genre: Dark Wave / Electronic
Release Date: 13th March 2009
Label: Accession Records



Introduction


It’s not so long ago yet since the last DIARY OF DREAMS album ‘Nekrolog 43’, the 8th chapter was released and some might be surprises because they haven’t even properly digested the last one. The ninth chapter is simply titled ‘(if)’ (well, the full title is ‘(if) - the Memento Ritual Project’), a title that is as unpretentious as it is meaningful. The new opus will cast a spell onto the listeners as of 13th March 2009.


Line-up

Adrian Hates
Gaun:A
D.N.S.
Torben Wendt


Website

http://www.diaryofdreams.de/ / http://www.myspace.com/diaryofdreams


Detailed Review

There are some bands you hardly can wait to hold the new release in your hands. One of these bands for me is DIARY OF DREAMS. Knowing you always get something special, not only musically but also regarding the artwork, I opened the envelope with great excitement.... With shaking fingers I held the foiled limited edition box set in my hands, very carefully I removed the foil paying attention that I won’t do any damages to the packaging… a package with deserves definitely a closer look! For DoD an new release is not only about the music. It is a total work of art consisting of music - of course - and great design when it comes to the package and the promotional photography belonging to any release. So, when you open the ltd. Box set, you find a double digi pack containing the album as well as the bonus CD (just let me add the digi pack itself is more than you get with most releases nowadays), a full-colour poster and a thick booklet with wonderful photographs and all the lyrics. Slowly I browsed the booklet sinking deep into the mood transferred by the pictures and then I started reading the lyrics... and took the way to the stereo to get lost in music and the deepest abyss a human soul could go...

01. The Wedding - 5:47
Imagination sometimes carries strange blossoms. First it’s only a tiny little thought in your mind but with time the thought branches and some day controls your entire acting to a point where it becomes an obsession. When that point is reached there’s no turning back anymore and you’re starting to do everything it takes to make your “dream” come true. Hurting people? Making their life a living hell? “No problem as long as I get what I want in the end.” What these people usually not take into consideration is that it’s only “A matter of time till an echo unfolds.” It all comes back to you one day and when that fateful day comes and “...you’re begging for shelter don’t knock on my door.” You’ve caused enough trouble and no matter what you’ll say or do “I will never say these words to you.” I will never forgive you!!! The ¾ time signature of ‘The Wedding’ is really a funny thing and initially makes you think of the first dance of a wedding, the famous waltz, just as the accompanying melody and pushes you right into a specific direction but of course the intention of the writer might go a totally different way. This song in its distinct structure also would be perfect, cracking opener for the upcoming tour don’t you think?

02. Requiem 4.21 - 5:31
The pain of loss is a burden for every soul it alights on. We know it comes sooner or later but that is in no way a preparation. The pain is overwhelming when a close friend, family member, or an animal you shared a big part of your life with and had a deep emotional connection to it is suddenly gone. You’re whole worlds falls apart and you’re asking yourself “How can I possibly survive without you? How am I supposed to face life now that you’re not here anymore?” At this point you just can’t imagine this will ever be possible again and you wish yourself down into the cold earth where a part of your life is buried so this pain would finally stop and you’re re-united again. But as time passes you’ll learn to bear it somehow start to move on with your life but there’s one thing that will never happen. The pain won’t disappear… Never, as it has left scars in your soul. The only comfort you might find for yourself is the memories of all the beautiful moments you shared. The time you spent together… A mournful piano melody sounds at the beginning of ‘Requiem 4.21’ and carries Adrian’s utterly brittle voice alone until at the beginning of what’s the chorus drums an enveloping synth layers and sequences enrich the instrumentation.

“Du bist immer hier
und ich bei dir
Du bist immer hier
Nur ich muss bleiben.”

03. Odyssey Asylum - 4:39
At first that title ‘Odyssey Asylum’ seems to make no sense. At least that was my first impression. But when you think about it attentively while reading the lyrics and listening to the track it gradually becomes clearer. At first I thought it could be a special kind of mental institution but another meaning of the word ‘Asylum’ is shelter or refuge and then the title is getting a completely different meaning. If we’re now looking at the lyrics we’re getting the impression of having two different persons here. “You love your illusions without them you’re lost” and in the chorus it’s suddenly the ego perspective. But it never seems as they’re really talking to each other. Just as if one of them isn’t willing or able to because he’s vacantly. On an odyssey through his own mind which he can’t end because what he has once seen as a shelter from a reality that became too hard to handle because of a painful event has now become a prison for him, he wants to escape desperately. “Please let the rain fall down on me, Please let me feel the miracles of life.” A lightly distorted guitar melody to the backdrop of small shreds of ambience opens ‘Odyssey Asylum’ before the quite reluctant drums come in and the ambiance grows in intensity. Then it’s time for Adrian to start the chant and an alienated piano picks up the riff melody from before. The chorus starts and a little more drive floats into the arrangement. Drums are more vivid and driving and also a few deep riffs have been incorporated.

04. Poison Breed - 4:50
What is a “Poison Breed” anyway? I thought some time about that and these are my little two cents. A Poison Breed in my opinion is an idea implemented into your brain. By a person you think you can trust. I mean you can never really look into somebody’s mind to find out their true intentions and I think what we see or better read here in the lyrics is the outcome. Somebody wanted you to get into real trouble to get you out of his way and for that he just needed to wait for the right moment when you would really need help. Maybe due to a situation he’s staged himself. Naïve as you are you believe everything he says and that’s exactly the point where the Poison Breed unfolds. You’re making a decision based on the lies you’ve been told, a fatal decision which literally gets you in a hell of a mess. A situation where you have to run and fear for your life, where you have to hide yourself! But still you’re wondering “Where did you come from poison breed?” I sincerely hope you can follow my chain of thoughts here. Musically, ‘Poison Breed’ is one of the more driving DIARY OF DREAMS tracks. Pretty straight-forward and industrial-laden drum arrays tethered to pushing sequences and a couple of really sharp riffs. Towards the end the drums are getting more challenging, more aggressive in their approach.

05. Wahn!Sinn? - 4:41
For a foreign observer the behaviour of many of us human beings must seem quite confusing I guess. Let’s take this one as an example: A ruling elite fights a war against their people. Pushes through laws that can’t be in the best interests of everybody if you’d only take a closer look at it and slowly your freedom’s taken away piece by piece! But except for small groups of people no one seems to have the guts to do something about it. Of course not is much easier to blind out anything and that’s exactly the point. That’s what they’re counting on and mostly they’re counting right. But when do we reach the point where we say: Enough is enough! When do we finally raise our hands and fight? Start a “Revolution” so to speak. Or is it really too late already as the lyrics say. Much too late? You can already tell by the drum parts at the beginning that this one won’t become a soft ride. A certain aggression is attached to these sounds and the more the song progresses the more of it is revealed. Heavy-down-tuned riffs emerge and then some time later come the drums which are sounding like the guys employed a live drum set for their needs on this one. Sounds much more organic all in all! Adrian’s voice in here has a challenging character to it while in other parts when being surrounded by a plethora of sullen atmospherics it gives me the chills with its resigning but at the same time menacing overtone.

06. The Colors of Grey - 6:40
‘The Colors of Grey’ - a ballad as deep and sad as the sea is. Already with the first minor tones of the piano you’re getting completely lost in depths and when Adrian’s voice finally appears then it’s all over and tears start to run down your cheeks because you’re instinctively feeling the sadness contained within these words. And it even gets worse when the words “The Colors of Grey” fill the air underlined by heavy down-tempo deep, deep drums and a cold wind of ambience that brings nothing but feelings of resignation and sadness which won’t leave you as long as the song lasts. But as intense as the arrangement already is so are the lyrics and at one point I started to ask myself why somebody would see grey as their colour. “This is my color, this is my legacy”. When I think of grey I connect feelings of desolation and even loneliness with it - a live that has never seen a ray of sunlight without any ties to anyone so the person must inevitably get the feeling that it wouldn’t make any difference if he’s there or not. “Without me it all remains the same.” And that’s one of the things that I fear. To be all alone one day, to die alone in the knowing that no one remembers me; that one takes an interest on that I’m not there anymore. Did my life have any meaning then?

07. Choir Hotel - 6:17
“I heard of a man who can see through the heart, a fountain of truth as a stranger reveals.” Someone who can see through the heart, practically learning everything about you. A pretty discomforting notion if you ask me. But where does he get his knowledge from? Does he really have a gift or is he just a clever fraud in the end. I mean, there are people who can learn; maybe it is better if I say guess certain things about you only by a little stir in your face. “His conscience is burdened, his wisdom a crime.” I think these lines make pretty much clear that the person is untrue. “The words of a Wiseman are not worth a dime.” It’s just not always as it seems. Some people build up facades made to confuse us. It’s just the same with DoD lyrics. I could be... I most likely am... on the completely wrong alley but that’s not what matters in the end! Musically I felt a close connection to ‘The Curse’ not that the song would sound the same but it has something in it that reminded me of it. The song will probably work very well in the life circuit. The rhythm is just perfect for that. It has lots of energy and features male choirs as well.

08. The Chain - 5:04
Did I mention already that I just love this kind of live drumming? At least I assume it is live drumming, sounds like that. Anyway, the rhythmic section of the track is awesome. It’s not overloaded with effects as far as I can tell but it’s elaborate enough not to be regarded. Even if you blind out the doomy riffs you can hear here and there in the song for one moment, you can witness a subtle flow of energy is already circulating within the arrangement and the guitar intensifies it. In the chorus which is also surrounded by hovering melodic sequences they suddenly expanse and seemingly fill out the entire. “Because we read it on every page, we take it all for granted.” And that’s a phenomenon you can witness a lot these days. Only an example “what the newspaper says is always right” there’s not the slightest intention of second-guessing any of the information they get albeit “It is proven that nothing’s proven”. What I mean is that news can be spread purposely to distract people from the truth. Don’t take it for granted that this information’s are correct. Ask questions! Try to look behind the facade

09. King of Nowhere - 5:13
“You find yourself in the benefit of the doubt, the prospect of a change both a blessing and a curse.” It’s a decision you’re still hesitate to make because you fear the consequences it might bring. You fear the change might not be for the better but maybe “These are the consequences you might have to bear”, hence you’re released of the never-ending doubt and the question “What if?” Actually you know all that too well but still something’s holding you back from eventually taking the final step even though your desires are getting stronger and stronger the more time passes. But one day that might be tomorrow or in the distant future you have to do it, but even if that doesn’t bring the wished release of loneliness “Fear not this is not the end of this world” and don’t go back discouraged as you are because one day it will happen. Each note of the piano melody that lies at the beginning of ‘King of Nowhere’ radiates kind of longing I barely can cast into proper words and which makes me shiver over and over just as Adrian’s special timbre within this song. It’s multiplying the emotions in some way and transports it directly into the soul. Somehow the song reminds me of ‘UnWanted’ from the last album even though there’s an entirely different feeling and mood to it but it should at least give you a little hint in which direction the song is going regarding it.

10. 21 Grams of Nothing - 4:04
Human beings have a tendency of wanting to know everything there is. They’re on an endless search for answers. All at once at best! But is it really desirable to know all the secrets? I don’t think so, frankly and while reading the lines in the booklet regarding ‘21 Grams of Nothing’ I get the impression there’s somebody else has come to the same conclusion. He’s getting all the answers he wants but it doesn’t bring him what he wanted. Quite the contrary is the case. The answers he got, the secrets he now knows put his salvation at stake and last like a heavy weight on his soul. Eventually this leads to a new obsession: He has to get rid of this knowledge again. Find someone able to erase the things he learned from his mind. “Memories must vanish, to calm the frightened soul.” Distorted rhythm patterns come in from afar while a fidgety acoustic melody seems to dance on air. This melody soon unites with short repetitive piano lines and organic drumming and right after the last words of the chorus died away an atmospheric stream of melodies takes hold blending together strings, choirs and sustained guitar lines which appear like layers themselves.

11. Mind over Matter - 7:00
‘Mind over Matter’ surely is one of the darkest and most menacing tracks you will come to hear on ‘(if)’ and at many points its sound is strongly reminding me of some tracks on ‘MenschFeind’. Appears cold and imbued with horrors! The intricate down-tempo rhythms that have a tinge of industrial are slowly grinding forward underneath occasional sinister strings but in-between there are always parts where this heavy veil lifts up for a few moments and the darkness is not as lasting as it was before and makes way for a rather melancholic mood underpinned with acoustic guitar intermezzos differently flavoured strings. But darkness not only indwells the arrangement itself it’s also captivated within the words of a human being who was forced to witness something incredibly terrifying that has left invisible scars on his soul and now he’s supposed to forget what happened, even though the person who committed this act is always near him and reminds him of what happened, watching over every step, making it impossible for him to tell anybody or to escape his influence. But why would somebody force another person to witness his cruel acts and then keeping him from telling anyone in the first place? The only answer I can think of is to destroy the other person but it won’t work this time around, because the supposed victim created a place he can retreat to at will. He’s calling it “My secret inferno” and “My place to recover”. Kind of a shelter yet it also has to be a place where he’s able to get rid of the horror he’s witnessed.

12. Kingdom of Greed - 5:18
“You waited here in vain” all this time for someone or something to come and rescue you but now “You cannot forgive yourself” as you see “The wonders of a lifetime in each and everyone’s face” and you know all your time was wasted. You could have all these wonders too but now after so much time has passed you somehow feel that it’s too late. But is it really too late? Is it too late now to start over again? You can’t imagine that at this point, but I personally feel that it’s never too late to start over again. The chance to turn it all around even after many and many years have passed is there... the chance to feel “Like a homeless back at home.” It’s almost a tradition to end a DIARY OF DREAMS album with a ballad [also read our latest interview] and it is one that’ll pluck your heartstrings for sure. It starts out with a wonderful piano melody soon to be underscored with occasional marching drum assistance and then the voice sends goose bump showers all over your body. Its fragility is beyond words. With the beginning of the bridge leading over to the chorus, heavy, electronic rhythmic elements take over giving the composition even more heaviness than it already spreads. As soon as the chorus is reached the song just takes off and a sheer flood of filigree melodic melancholy bursts out on the listener. But even if I can’t describe it exactly I feel there’s a shimmer of hope wandering through it. Sounds strange I know!


Bonus CD g(if)t

01. Momentum - 5:01
“What on earth could be worse than not to know what you feel?” I literally got stuck on this lines and I started thinking if there’s really something on earth that could be worse than that. Well, of course there are worse things, overall spoken, but for a person it belongs to the worst things I can imagine. There are feelings inside you and you just can’t identify them which simultaneously means you can’t find the cause for these feelings and perhaps solve the problem they’re caused by. A pretty confusing and terrifying thought for me! It drags you into an endless circle of confusion I thought these feeling might be connected to memories, erased or locked in a corner of the person’s mind. But why are they locked in if they’re locked in at all? That’s a question I still try to figure out. ‘Momentum’ always swings between deepest melancholy and aggression that manifests in metallic, pounding drums, hard sequences and equalling vocals as well. It is constant ebb and flow and you’re feeling like being tidal. This combination brings in a lot of dynamics and additionally sends you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

02. Regicide - 4:19
The speedy guitar riff at the beginning of ‘Regicide’ already gives a hint on the “nature” of the song and indeed the rhythm that soon is about to enter the arena is a bit faster and yet it’s not as aggressive as I expected it to be even though there’s lots of, partly harder, guitar work in it. Another aspect of the song I found really interesting is the rhythm section. It has at times kind of an raw and unpolished character that I can’t remember hearing in any previous DIARY OF DREAMS song. It just sounds different, that is, it doesn’t sound to me like purposely mutilated drum sounds. Much more like organic developed. I always had to think of a garage jam session even though that’s pretty ridiculous. The mood of the song is accompanied by a subliminal sense of danger. A danger for a specific person! In the lyrics there’s talk of a call to mutiny. Maybe for that reason? “You became the man that we were scared of”.

03. The Saint - 5:13
“We breathe the same air, you know, we feed on the same thoughts, we drink from the same spring, and all this is not enough.” As strange and abstruse this might sound to you but I had to think of race discrimination while reading these particular words. We’re all the same and yet in the eyes of so many people we’re not. People get murdered because they don’t belong to the glorious white race and it keeps going on. If it’s not the race, it is the faith one has and it doesn’t seem to end at all and I find that extremely sad. There always seems to be someone thinking he’s more worthy than others. A saint on a mission to cleanse the world in the figuratively sense! I know too well how this must sound if you try to blend it into the context of the song but the thought was just there when I read the lines and I just needed to write it down. Some kind of alienated guitar alongside fluid backdrop of pads which leads into a pretty straight beat! I recognized only a few synth layers on this song, in the chorus to be precise in the form of synthesized strings. Even though this might never happen, I’d like to see that track performed live as I think this could become a real crowd pleaser. Just a little wish!

04. Never tell the Widow - 6:35
Also the bonus CD of the limited edition closes with a balladry track. It’s a farewell of something that was meant to last, a close bond between two persons which now seem to have estranged. Perfect strangers living under one roof! “I’m well aware that I should know you and yet I feel it’s not the case, it feels like talking to a stranger, I hardly recognize your voice.” They’re only living together to this day because they got used to each other and yet they seem to have reached a situation where there’s obviously only one way: Goodbye! The hopelessness of that situation also reflects in the mood of this song which is all oppressing and maybe also depressing. It is definitely no song I could listen to all day because it just makes me extremely sad and I always get a lump in my throat when listening to it; no shimmer of hope neither in the piano nor the acoustic guitar parts in it and the drums sometimes appear like the incessant ticking of the clock showing that time is running out and there’s nothing we could to prevent it… Nothing!


Cover Picture




Rating

Music: 10
Sound: 10
Extras: 10
Total: 10 / 10


Conclusion

Sebastian: Here we are already at the end of our journey through the ninth chapter - (if) - and again it presents an altered sound which you can’t compare to the one of ‘Nekrolog 43’. Overall it sounds way more organic in its instrumentation. You can hear plenty of acoustic and rock guitars in it but also the drumming has in my opinion reached a new level. It’s gotten more detailed, accentuated as well. Just to the point and in songs such as ‘Wahn!Sinn’ or ‘The Chain’ it simply sounds live. Can’t find another term for that right now! I’m still not entirely convinced these are actually programmed drums. Then, as always, we have wonderful ballads like ‘Colors of Grey’ or ‘Kingdom of Greed’ that not just leave it with goose bumps alone, they touch the soul and sometimes they drag you into an abyss, as happened with ‘Requiem 4.21’where I had to take e break from writing for a while or ‘Never tell the Widow’, also deeply emotional tunes. Let’s also get to the artwork which was done, like on the previous album, by Annie Bertram (photo) and Ingo Römling (editing) but this time you don’t get to see any band member dying. It has certain elegance if I may call it that way; with many close up shots of the band members and kind of a visualisation to the lyrics of every song. You might have noticed we’ve also reviewed the bonus CD, so we must have the Limited box as well and you’re right and this box holds a lot more extras for you... as mentioned above.

Daniela: How many times have I listened to that album now during the last three days? It must have been at least 15 times and still, with every new run, I discover more and more details. There are so many small musical facets and details you cannot embrace with the first listen. Every single note, every tune shows the perfection of this composition. I know, the year is just a few weeks old, but already I can say this album must be one of the best releases this year. Any other one will have a hard job reaching similar heights. But yet, ‘(if)’ is nothing for small and simple minds. It is nothing you can hear along the way. If you ever started dealing with the songs and the lyrics you get drown deep onto your own soul and emotions. Above, Sebastian wrote down his thoughts about every single song. Every one of you will now have to find his / her own interpretations. And that is what counts. So, take the risk and listen carefully! What I like most according the musical development compared with previous releases? The organic drum work and all those new guitar riffs, might they be acoustic and brittle or harsh and hard hitting. Also Adrian’s voice sounds even more diversified than ever before. Favourite songs? Well, I cannot really tell yet. But there are songs I really, really wanna hear live like ‘Poison Breed’ or ‘The Chain’, songs that are so sad and meaningful that they touch my deepest soul and one song I hardly can listen to... because it makes me experience my loss once more...

{jos_sb_discuss:19}
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