"The Long War" (Self-released; 2010)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

When Dimitri's "The Long War" begins, it sounds almost uncomfortably like Europe's "The Final Countdown." That feeling passes, however, as the album continues and the listener is inundated with a melodic, keyboard-drenched album that brings to mind something like Kiss's "Crazy Nights." It's hard rock with way too much keyboard softening the edges.

While the musicianship is admirable throughout, the vocals need a lot of work. If namesake Dimitri Bonani is singing here himself, he should step back and let someone else take over from now on. The vocals on "The Long War" are high-pitched and unbalanced, almost yodeling at times, and often so annoying they don't do the music any good at all. I suppose the problem here could be that English is this Italian band's second language and I understand that but I would rather have heard the original Italian language version than the unsuccessful English attempt here. Instead, the tremolo vocals, which might have worked back when it was fashionable, are often an eye-rolling experience, as the high-pitched vocals rip through the speakers like the Devil's fingers on a chalkboard.

One thing is certain: the music on "The Long War" is not the meaty heavy metal or Southern Hard Rock that the album cover might lead you to expect. The admittedly awesome cover, featuring a Boris Vallejo-like battle painting you'd expect to see on a Molly Hatchet or Cirith Ungol album, doesn't fit the band's keyboard-heavy AOR sound at all.

I will say this: The musical performance here is more than competent, especially in the guitar department. The final track is an instrumental track which belongs less on a rock'n'roll album than it does on the closing credits crawl of an epic movie soundtrack and, in fact, is probably my favorite track of the CD.

For more information, check out http://www.myspace.com/dimitribonani.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2011 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 26 Sep 2022 12:18:30 -0400.