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Dignity - "Balance Of Power" (CD)

Dignity - "Balance Of Power" CD cover image

"Balance Of Power" track listing:

1. Rebel Empire
2. Lion Attack
3. Rise
4. Shackles of War
5. The Day That I Die
6. Angels Cry
7. Save Me
8. Freedom Reign
9. Help Me Call My Name
10. Blackout (Scorpions Cover)

Reviewed by on December 26, 2013

"Dignity has created a unique brand of 'staying power,' where I'm comfortable in predicting that it will appear on playlists for a long time to come."

Even though the mighty Artillery was able to persevere in the wake of vocalist Soren Adamsen’s departure, his presence and place in the Danish thrash act’s legacy will never be forgotten. His departure in Sweden’s Inmoria was also a blow, though Ronny Hemlin picked up the mantle. No matter where Adamsen turns up, the playing level of each band he joins seems to elevate. Enter Austria’s Dignity, which released the mediocre debut album “Project Destiny” in 2008 fronted by Amaranthe’s Jake E. Five years later, the band resurfaces with Adamsen and is thrust into elite status.

The music video for “Rebel Empire” was what drew your author in immediately. Nearly every facet of the band’s musicianship was elevated to contagious levels. When the dust settled, it’s hard to name an album released in 2013 with higher number of memorable tracks. Does that make it the best album of the year? No, but it certainly comes with enough credentials for the honor and the staying power over the coming years might make it worthy in “decade best” categories if more people take notice.

Sure, one member truly doesn't make a band. In Dignity’s case, it takes a group to make the music behind the voice…and the addition of Siren’s Cry guitarist/composer Phillip Porter in 2010 put the band over the top in my eyes. Soren may not have the best technical voice your ears will ever hear within the genre of metal, and it’s hard to offer a precise reason why I find it so engaging in light of so many others boasting a better acumen. Outside of sporting a phenomenal range, the thing that sets Soren apart is these flashes where he hits a note that is indistinguishable from Scanner’s old vocalist Michael Knoblich. Those flashes are like a time capsule to an album I hold to be one of the golden chalices of power metal – Scanner’s “Hypertrace” (1988). Fortunately, Soren has much more to offer that makes him a great singer, otherwise my credibility for identifying great vocals would be in question.

The keyword for “Balance of Power” is memorability. For a power metal geek, it’s a daunting task to pick a clear favorite, as nearly the entire record contains great songs. “Rebel Empire” was the first heard and plays like a prototypical power metal classic. It will be identified by any person drawn to the band’s music. However, time and saturation reveals so many more from “Shackles of War,” “Lion Attack,” Save Me,” and “Angels Cry.” They all have a major component of memorability – highly engaging bridges and choruses with melodies that stick in your head for months (and likely years).

If I had one drawback, it would be the use of keyboards. On first listen, I thought Frank Pitters’ keys sounded much too tinny and futuristic amid the melodic power metal attack, especially when they fill the pauses and highlight backgrounds in “Lion Attack.” It took many listens, but they finally grew on me to the point where it is not really an issue anymore. I’ve accepted this as a modern element the band employed to distinguish from other power metal acts. For that, it is highly successful.

In just the sophomore record, Dignity has achieved that near perfect “balance of power,” raising the bar for the third release. This album is another that blindsided me a bit, only adding to the excitement on the first listen. Dignity has created a unique brand of “staying power,” where I'm comfortable in predicting that it will appear on my playlists for a long time to come. Albums revered from the 80’s have been personally adored for less than what is presented here and that bodes very well for how this album will rank in the future.

Highs: A fine example of how power metal should sound in a modern atmosphere.

Lows: The use of keyboards comes across tinny and weak.

Bottom line: Dignity are "Soren" and achieve a perfect "balance of power."

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)