Dimension X - 2005 - So...This Is Earth 
Genre: Progressive Metal
Country: United States
DIMENSION X biography (at Progarchives):
DIMENSION X is a Milwaukee based progressive metal project originally formed in an effort to produce music similar in feel and texture to that of King Crimson, Genesis and Rush. Over time the band's sound shifted to more closely resemble contemporary icons such as DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X. During this transition the original drummer, Andy Jimenez, and the original guitarist, Kent Herman were replaced with new drummer, Eddie Shapanske, and new guitarist Troy Stetina. Dave Burkowitz (bass), Jeff Konkol (keys), and Dave Hoover (vocals) remained consistent with the band through both phases.
Their current music can be quite fairly categorized as progressive metal, with some significant nods to older, more epic prog, and creative visionaries along the lines of PINK FLOYD, DAVID BOWIE, and TOOL. Their first full length CD, "So... This is Earth" has a number of tremendous moments, but suffers from some roughness throughout. Their new CD "Implications of a Genetic Defense" is a well crafted concept album. The sound is much more energetic, and writing is tight and well thought-out. The performances are extraordinary.
If the progress made between their first CD release, and their second CD release is in anyway indicative of what can be expected in the future, this band is highly recommended.
DIMENSION X — So ... This Is Earth (Album review at Prograchives):
Review by Gatot (Gatot Widayanto) SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator (4 stars of 5)
It has taken me couple of weeks to solidify my overall view about this full-fledge debut album by Dimension X. And I think it’s worth sharing with you my evolving experience enjoying this album. At first spin, the music sounded too rough and looked like half-polished on the production and mixing department. But, I was not sure about it as it might be the band intention to produce this way through heavy and rough guitar riffs and drum works. The other problem that I faced was the vocal quality that did not really sound well to my ears. On this God-given thing, I usually have a strong willingness to compromise because how can one changes what God has given? So, let me tell you how I handle the situation where the vocal quality is not up to my expectation. I treat the vocal is like the sound of any musical instrument: be it a guitar, a flute, an oboe, a sax, a keyboard, anything that “brings the melody” of the music. The only difference is that on instrumental thing there is no lyrical verse – which is fine with me because most of the time I focus more on overall music instead of the story or the messages that the song brings.
Having that in my mind, I still got trouble with the overall quality of this CD. But, I find that this CD is very interesting to me and I can not stop listening to it and it has always been with me wherever I go, even when I drive. Playing this CD in my car has stimulated good energy and enthusiasm as the music is, most of them, in upbeat progressive metal mode. So, in this case I can not lie to myself that this CD has elevated my emotion. I have a philosophy that music is emotion. At the end of the day, emotion that counts. If it has nothing to do with the emotion, forget the music. Only if the music is able to create an emotion impact to listener then we can withdraw a conclusion about the quality of its composition (structure, arrangement), songwriting and overall performance. I don’t know why, whenever I listen to this CD I always remember Dali’s Dilema’s Manifesto for Futurism which I had similar experience with this CD. It’s probably their music is similar as also the case with the vocal department.
Let’s have a look in great details …
The album starts off with hard driving rhythm and melodic track Why which blew me away at first spin. The combination of guitar riffs by Kent Herman, inventive keyboard work by Jeff Konkol and solid bass lines by DR Burkowitz makes this song an interesting one to enjoy. I enjoy the parts during quiet passage at approx minute 1:50 as it has a nice melody. The music continues with riffs that reminds me to bands like Royal Hunt or Dream Theater or Symphony X, or Evergrey. The guitar solo that follows is also stunning. The music continues to Open Letter without any pause. The intro part is very upbeat but the music slows down when vocal line enters the music. The guitar riffs and solo are good to enjoy. Corporate Ladder is a rocker with melodic singing and beautiful riffs. Bass guitar work by DR Burkowitz characterizes the song rhythm section combined with neo-classical keyboard interlude. It’s really an excellent track.
Introspection is a short instrumental track with keyboard and piano work in classical music style. It’s so relaxing bridge that connects to fifth track Train Wreck which has powerful riffs and melody. The music sounds rough but it’s nice and uplifting. There is a short segment with bass guitar solo and riffs which remind me to the Indonesian Balinese traditional gamelan sound. It’s a cool segment. I’m not really sure whether or not this is a coincidence or the band has ever visited Bali island and the gamelan sound has inspired them.
The band has also crafted a prog met epic Xeno's Paradox with an approx 17 minutes duration. It starts in slow tempo with excellent piano work influenced by classical music and inventive bass lines. The music moves in crescendo into more complex arrangements and faster speed. Again, I observe the bass guitar work is really solid and it accompanies stunning guitar solo. Piano serves its role at the background but it enriches the textures of the epic. The epic comprises tempo changes from slow to medium to fast and returns back to slow in a balanced way. After the dialogue singing style in the middle of the epic there is a beautiful keyboard / piano work that reminds me to the style of Keith Emerson augmented with really inventive bass lines. What a cool segment! The guitar solo after piano solo brings the music into complex arrangement in fast tempo. Overall, the epic is an excellent composition that provides balanced fills of piano / keyboards, guitar and bass guitar. Unfortunately, some mixing of drums and vocal seem being overwhelmed by other instruments even though the drum fills are excellent. Enjoying this epic is a rewarding experience for me.
The music continues seamlessly to next track Intrigue with eastern nuance melody, combining guitar, bass, piano and vocal with medium/fast tempo music. Bass guitar gives its role really well especially during transition piece. There are some nice double pedal bass drum insertions that remind me to power metal music even though performed only in a short time. At approx minute 3:21 there is a melody that, agin, reminds me to the pentatonic sounds of Balinese gamelan. It’s really wonderful! Similar melodies occur again at minute 5:04 augmented with great bass guitar and drumming. Nothing's Changed concludes the album in medium / fast progressive metal music with some symphonic touch. Even though some bass work (those that are played like Stanley Clarke in the eighties) do not favor me personally but overall it’s a good composition track.
Overall, this album is an excellent debut album that lays solid foundation for the composition in terms of structure, arrangements, and songwriting relies on a balanced delivery of the soloists: guitar, keyboard and vocal combined with inventive and adventurous bass guitar work, and drums as beat keeper as well as transition fillers. To me personally, this beauty has killed the production and mixing issues as I explain on the above. For those of you where progressive metal is already in your blood, this is definitely an album that you should not miss. For those that are exploring into prog metal vein, this album may fit your expectations.