Dianogah: Battle Champions

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By Erin Hucke - Dianogah produces primarily instrumental rock music with the basics

Dianogah produces primarily instrumental rock music with the basics—guitar, bass and drums. (How long has it been since you’ve heard real rock music without any of the extras thrown in?) No blips. No bleeps. No samples. No feedback. No noise. Not even a whole lot of vocals. Just rock at its purest form.

Vocals are sparse in the land of Dianogah, so when these guys actually bother to say something, you listen. Two songs on Battle Champions have lyrics, but the words don’t even fill the complete songs. A couple of verses carefully placed between intense instrumental bookends tend to do the work. Yet, the music doesn’t need words. The music sings for itself.

The instruments may be basic, but basic doesn’t mean boring. This band doesn’t know the meaning of the word “boring.” Instead they’ve figured out ways of using the simplest of instruments in complex and interesting ways. The guitar work is indecisive with tempo and melody changes every seven seconds. And the drumming runs around like a hyperactive 4-year-old.

But surprisingly enough, the whole band works as a team. Rather than layering a bunch of individual parts independent of each other, Dianogah weaves them together. Each element complements another. They play back and forth, exchanging melodies. The bass and drums converse in a steady fashion. The guitars interrupt stuttering in rapid, plinked patterns. The guitars join together to sing in unison.

Dianogah takes standard rock building blocks and construct stone castles. They build bridges and skyscrapers. They use the basics to construct solid, sturdy, unwavering songs that climb with intensity. They rise in height. The volume inflates. These are master craftsmen at work.

Published at: http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/dianogah-battle/