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Dimensions (Believer album)

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Dimensions
Studio album by Believer
Released1993
GenreThrash metal
Avant-garde metal
Length52:50
LabelRoadrunner Records
R.E.X. Records
ProducerThe Trauma Team with Ted Hermanson
Professional reviews

Phantom Tollbooth link

Believer chronology
Sanity Obscure
(1990)
Dimensions
(1993)
Gabriel
2009
Alternative cover
R.E.X. Records

Dimensions is the GMA Dove Award nominated third album by the Christian technical thrash metal band Believer, released in 1993 on both Roadrunner Records and R.E.X. Records. The album's last song, "Trilogy of Knowledge", is split into four separate parts and tells of the life of Jesus Christ. All the lyrics are stated exactly from the Bible, and includes opera vocals, orchestral instruments, acoustic guitars, distorted guitars, and more.[1] Although the album was critically lauded, the band disbanded the following year, but reformed in 2005.

Contents

Recording

The preproduction of Dimensions was recorded at Trauma Studios, and was produced by The Trauma Team and Ted Hermanson who did the engineering, assisted by the drummer Joey Daub. Wyatt Robertson and David Baddorf left Believer before the band began recording Dimensions. Jim Winters joined as bassist and also played some guitar parts during the recording sessions. On this album, Glenn Fischbach played cello, Scott Laird played violins and violas, Julianne Laird Hoge performed soprano vocals, and William Keller performed speaking voice on some songs. The album was mastered at The Hit Factory, DMS, New York, by Chris Gehringer. The cover art and illustration was done by Dave McKean at Hour Glass.[2]

The album was released in 1993 and turned out to be the band's most technical, progressive, and ambitious album. Kurt Bachman had been a guitar player in an industrial metal group called Under Midnight, which possibly influenced some industrial sound effects on Dimensions. The major label Roadrunner Records released Dimensions to mainstream market, and R.E.X. Records released it to Christian market with a different cover art.

Overview

Taking a step forward from Sanity Obscure, the lyrics on Dimensions are described as intelligent,[3] and deal with the different dimensions of man's mind: insanity, wisdom, and philosophy. For example, on the song "Dimentia" the lyrics deal with the philosophical paradoxes and the ponderings of Sigmund Freud, Thomas J. J. Altizer, Ludwig Feuerbach and Jean-Paul Sartre about the existence of God, recited by William Keller. The song specifically quotes Altizer's The Gospel of Christian Atheism, Sartre's Being and Nothingness, Feuerbach's The Essence of Christianity, and Freud's Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion, and compares them with what the Bible says, citing Corinthians 1:19-20.[4] Musically, "Dimentia" is atypical to the usual thrash metal, showcases Believer's musicianship, particularly Joey Daub's percussion and lead guitars by Kurt Bachman and Jim Winters, and ability to seamlessly flow through time changes. This songs proves a collision of genres, bringing in Scott Laird on strings. As a violin solo carries the major key change, harmonic guitar leads fall into the soundscapes.[4]

The opening song "Gone" starts with an intro that consist of nightmarish samples of clattering machines, a man's echoing screaming, and a man using a drill and talking like a doctor, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of an asylum. Citing Revelation 20:12, the songs speaks of the Book of Life that is opened to judge actions. The lines "Stupidity flows, the more you speak./ Insanity grows, the more I think." form the carrying theme of the album. "Singularity" is an aggressive technical thrash metal piece that talks about singularity in mathematical, scientifical and philosophical context.

“What Is But Cannot Not Be” is cited as the song that demonstrates Believer's uncanny ability to write progressive music combining thrash and speed, with thoughtful and intelligent lyrics. Some peculiar vocal effects are used to channel the energy of aggression. In this song, the poetic lyrics proclaim that "Possibility cannot account for actuality,” and that whatever happens “is caused in order to be."[4]

Trilogy of Knowledge

The symphonic metal suite, ”Trilogy of Knowledge,” divided to three chapters and an intro, is an over 20 minute epic and Biblical story about life of Jesus Christ and knowledge of good and evil. ”Trilogy of Knowledge” once again featured the orchestral compositions of Scott Laird and soprano vocals by Julianne Laird Hoge. "Intro: The Birth" interprets the creation of man, contains bizarre sound effects that create a mood of tension, and spoken words: "The man became a living being."

File:William Blake, The Temptation and Fall of Eve.JPG
The Temptation and Fall of Eve by William Blake.

"Movement I: The Lie" starts the cacophony of metal and orchestral music. The chapter takes the listener in the middle of the event described in Genesis 3, the Fall of Man which happened in the Garden of Eden, where Eve has just eaten a bit from the apple, a forbidden fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, offered by the serpent who lied to Eve that she would become like God and not die, and then Eve shares the fruit with Adam who now also gains wisdom. God enters the scene, sees what has happened and becomes furious: He curses the serpent, sets high childbirth pains for woman, sets man to rule over woman and live by sweat until death, and banishes them from Paradise. Julianne Laird Hoge sings Eve's words and Bachman interprets God's words with his raspy shouts.[2]

"Movement II: The Truth" takes a bit calmer musical approach at first with Scott Laird playing a string melody in an odd key signature,[4] painting airy soundscapes, and describes the Temptation of Christ event in the New Testament, Matthew 4, 1-11, where Jesus Christ has spent 40 days fasting in the desert, and the devil comes to trial Jesus. The metal output accompanies with the orchestral elements again, turning the atmosphere uncomfortable and distressed. The dialogue between Jesus and the devil are presented by Laird Hoge as Jesus and Bachman as the devil. Satan offers the world to Jesus if he bows and worships the devil, but Jesus tells the devil to go away because one must serve God only. The truth told in the song is that the devil rules the world, but the Holy Spirit in man is stronger than the one in the world, depicting Jesus as the Saviour.[2][4]

"Movement III: The Key" presents vocals only by Laird Hoge accompanied by the metal and orchestral delivery, and tells how to remain one's soul pure in the times of tribulation: not walking on the paths of the wicked, not offering body to sin, but offering oneself to God and putting on His armor so that one can stand one's ground when that day of evil comes. The content is backed by quotations of Proverbs 1:19, 4:14-19, Romans 6:13, and Ephesians 6:13-14. The song ends with a short outro that contains a voice saying "We love you. Take care. Bye bye."[2]

Reception

Dimensions received a GMA Dove Award nomination in the category ”Hard Music Album of the Year.”[5] While some fans preferred Sanity Obscure over Dimensions, the critics considered Dimensions as the album that separated Believer from average thrash metal groups,[3] and praised the album's musical output.[6] Tom MacMillan of The Phantom Tollbooth claims that "Believer's last offering to the musical world proved a metal classic" and "Dimensions is one of the greatest progressive metal albums of all time."[4] Rating the album 5/5, MacMillan writes:

Believer were masters at molding emotion and developing mood in songwriting. Immediately, the band stands out. The vocals are excellent, well-performed, and not as unpleasant as one might think growling to be. The lead guitar parts, performed by Kurt Bachman, are amazing; unrestrained without being pompous. Jim Winters matches the skill and precision of Bachman in a similar way with his bass guitar.[4]

During the Dimensions tour, Scott laird played violin and viola. After Dimensions the band went on a hiatus. In 1994, Believer agreed to mutually disband. Kurt Bachman stated in a press release in 2007 about the disbandment:

To make a long story short, following the release of Dimensions we decided to take an indefinite break and this had nothing to do with Roadrunner's support. They were very generous to us and we have nothing but fond memories of the work we did together. I decided to pursue another interest in biomedical research, particularly cancer genetics and therapy while Joey pursued other musical interests that resulted in Fountain of Tears (www.fountainoftears.com).[7]

Track listing

  1. "Gone" (K. Bachman/ J. Winters) - 5:47
  2. "Future Mind" (K. Bachman/ J. Daub/ J. Winters)- 5:34
  3. "Dimentia" (K.Bachman/ J. Daub/ J.Winters/ D. Man)- 5:36
  4. "What Is But Cannot Be" (K. Bachman/ J. Daub/ J.Winters/ D. Man) - 5:28
  5. "Singularity" (K.Bachman/ J.Winters/ D. Man) - 4:24
  6. "No Apology" (K.Bachman/ J. Daub/ J.Winters/ D. Man/ D. Baddorf) - 4:55
  7. "Trilogy of Knowledge: Intro: The Birth" - 2:17 (S. Laird/ K. Bachman/ J. Daub/ J. Winters)
  8. "Trilogy of Knowledge: Movement I: The Lie" - 5:27 (S. Laird/ K. Bachman/ J. Daub/ J. Winters)
  9. "Trilogy of Knowledge: Movement II: The Truth" - 6:46 (S. Laird/ K. Bachman/ J. Daub/ J. Winters)
  10. "Trilogy of Knowledge: Movement III: The Key" - 6:21 (S. Laird/ K. Bachman/ J. Daub/ J. Winters)

Personnel

  • Kurt Bachman - vocals, guitar
  • Joey Daub - drums, assistant engineer
  • Jim Winters - bass, guitar
  • Scott Laird - violins, violas
  • Glenn Fischbach - cello
  • Julianne Laird Hoge - soprano
  • William Keller - speaking voice
  • Ted Hermanson & The Trauma Team - production and engineering
  • Chris Gerhinger - mastering
  • Dave McKean - cover art (Roadrunner version)

References

  1. Bush, John (2005-04-30). "Dimensions". Allmusic. Open Publishing. http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:knfyxq8gldhe. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Believer - Dimensions. Lyrics of the booklet. RAR7797, Retroactive Records. Retrieved 2008-01-01.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Majalahti, Michael (2004-03-02). "The Best Kept Secrets in Rock". Imperiumi. Open Publishing. http://www.imperiumi.net/col_2.php?id=42. Retrieved 2007-09-19. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 MacMillan, Tom (2005-03-04). "Believer - Dimensions". The Phantom Tollbooth. Open Publishing. http://www.tollbooth.org/2005/reviews/believer.html. Retrieved 2007-12-19. 
  5. Believer. Retrieved 2007-09-19.
  6. Morrow, Matt (2004-03-02). "Believer - Dimensions". The Whipping Post. Open Publishing. http://thewhippingpost.tripod.com/believerdimensionsreissue.htm. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  7. Myspace.com/believerband, retrieved 2007-10-27

 

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