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Review of self-titled

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The Advocate

Dizmas self-titled

Reviewed by Susan Lloyd

"Dizmas has done a great job of including variety, depth, and solid musicianship on this latest release. It’s a solid album that I believe successfully propels the band to the next level."

The self-titled release from Lancaster, CA based rockers Dizmas, successfully moves the band forward into a broader arena of music. Although this is the band’s third full-length album, it is their first that comes as a result of signing with Forefront Records. There is a maturity of sound and lyricism throughout the track listing that in many ways works to not only showcase their seasoning as a band but also separates them from their peers in the industry. Not every song gives off this vibe, but there are strokes of genius on several tracks that clearly pave the way for continued growth in a promising direction.

The track listing begins with the sunny, hooky “Yours”. Dizmas makes great use of glimmering harmonies throughout the song, and it’s probably the most radio friendly in the collection. Sunny southern California glints off the warm guitar riffs and shines through the tones of front man Zach Zegan’s voice as songs progress throughout the album. But listeners are also treated to the bass playing skills of Nick Aranda, a trademark of all songs that follow “Yours” on this particular album.

I daresay that aside from Zegan’s contemporary voice that lines up nicely with frontmen from bands like Panic at the Disco and All American Rejects, Aranda’s bass lines are the most important identifying mark of Dizmas’s sound. I had to re-listen to sections of “Jealousy Hurts” when Aranda broke out the bass chords on the bridge. And more than once I found myself keying into melodic bass lines that pushed tracks along and gave them musical depth and backbone. I particularly love the opening of “Dance” that singles out the bass, giving it a moment to breathe on its own before the pounding dance vibe of this song takes over.

Another standout on Dizmas’ third project is the moody, reflective “Redemption, Passion, Glory”. There’s nothing obscure about these lyrics that clearly define the crux of the Christian faith. The repeated question “What love is this that you would die for me?” becomes meditative and convicting. Musically this song is coolly arranged, sounding very much like one of the smoother songs that Maroon 5 might record. The band takes a few chances with this song, breaking away from a formula approach, and being risky pays off by producing one of the more striking songs on the album.

Dizmas has also included a few bouncier tunes that will entice show-goers to dance. “Shake it Off” and “Dance” (duh!) have huge dance vibes and energy that make it very hard to sit still while listening. My guess is that their inclusion on the CD is definitely to give live shows a party atmosphere. I like the variety these two songs give to the overall structure of the album as well.

While Dizmas hits the mark on the majority of their latest songs, there are a few that really sound as if they were plugged into a default formula and constructed in order just to fill space. On at least three songs the rhythmic feel of the song shifts from a strong 4/4 meter on the verse to a half time feel on the chorus. There’s a lot of impact when that happens in one song, but by the time I’d heard it for the third time (on “Different”) I felt as if I was hearing the same song over again. While I don’t feel like Dizmas is leaning toward formula rock, it is one of those pitfalls that clearly needs to be avoided on future projects. Fortunately, the CD itself is intelligently constructed and the overwhelming majority of the songs are unique yet very Dizmas in tone.

Dizmas has done a great job of including variety, depth, and solid musicianship on this latest release. It’s a solid album that I believe successfully propels the band to the next level. These songs will tour well and give the band to the opportunity to increase their fanbase. I’m impressed with the lyrical content and the brilliant musicianship of Dizmas and hope to catch them on the road in the coming year.

Susan Lloyd is a professional photographer in Charleston, South Carolina who specializes in shooting concerts. She holds a degree in Music Education and has worked as a worship leader and as a youth minister. She is passionate about all types of music and enjoys encouraging and supporting bands who seek to glorify God. She also loves movies, animals, traveling, and making new friends. She and her husband have three kids and have been married for nearly 17 years. More info about Susan's photography can be found at www.susanlloydphotography.com or www.susieq3c.wordpress.com