REVIEW: DAGOBA – “Black Nova”
When someone mentions “Industrial Metal”, the first bands that come to my mind are Rammstein and Ministry. This might be the case for a majority of people who aren’t well-versed with this genre. For how big these bands are, the genre itself is quite small with few bands making a mark as big as the juggernauts. Dagoba are a French band who’ve been growing a loyal fan base over the past 14 years, and with their seventh album ‘Black Nova’ are looking to make a mark in the industrial scene.
This album surprised me – the last time I liked a band that was including techno in its music was ten years ago when I first heard Blood Stain Child. Dagoba have done an excellent job mixing techno elements with their groove metal. At times, it elevates parts of the album that might have got boring or repetitive if it were a traditional groove metal album. ‘Black Nova’ is like a wonderful cake where the groove metal forms the base and the industrial influences are the icing.
The songs are catchy and heavy, and there were times where I felt I could even dance to them. It took me some time to figure out why this mixture of disparate genres works so well, but then it struck me; it’s the superposition of the 4×4’s. The natural groove of the industrial elements and the groovy riffs in their music create an overall interesting listening experience. The band also adds some epic symphonic music on some of the songs, which was quite unexpected.
However, for everything that the band gets right, there is still something that is missing from the album as a whole. The songs are catchy, yes, but they aren’t memorable enough to keep me coming back. This might come down to the songwriting: the riffs are quite generic and play safe with the groove metal formula. But I wouldn’t blame the band considering the gamble they are taking with the increased industrial elements. Ultimately, the techno make the songs catchy, but the uninspired riffs make the songs forgettable.
The production on this albums is massive, though. All the instruments sound great and come through really clearly. The guitar tone helps accentuate the sound effects at the expense of sounding a little formless. Nicolas Bastos on drums sounds awesome – I love the snare sound and the intensity of the double bass on the songs. Werther Ytier on bass guitar straddles the line, working with the drums and the industrial elements. JL Ducroiset on guitar sounds good, but I’ve already mentioned how some of the guitar parts are a bit uninspired. Shawter’s clean and harsh vocals sound great, along with the vox effects that bring in the industrial aspect of the music, which I feel are the most interesting part of the music on this album.
‘Black Nova’ is a good album overall, and I love the way Dagoba have structured it. Songs like “Inner Sun” and “The Legacy of Ares” show the strength of the direction the band is moving in. But in playing safe with some aspects of the music, the band has created what I feel is a flash in the pan. But I’ll be looking forward to what the band does next, and how they take this new direction and push their limits.