Dogma - Twin sunrise - 1996
Though Dogma had only put out two albums, they seemed to be one of the pinnacle bands in the thriving Brazilian progressive rock scene. Their sounds are big, clean, precisely orchestrated and emoting of a grandiose experience. It can best be described as symphonic rock thats wedged someone between neoprog and old instrumental prog ALA Finch. They are much more musical than Apocalypse, another Brazilian band they resemble, and also never stray from an eloquent form of arrangements. Dogma has class and its musicianship is nearly faultless.
Dogmas first release, "Album" was heavier on an "stadium rock" type sound mainly because of the overuse of digital keyboards. The sound did not reach back into the analogue sounds of the 70s and the song writing was not as inspired. As a result, parts of the CD seemed flat and somewhat insipid. That is not to say "Album" is by any stretch a bad CD its not but it was more a sign of greater things to come.
"Twin Sunrise" finds Dogma embellishing its sounds and stretching out with much more analogue instruments, including strings and woodwinds. Coupled with stronger song writing, the disk really shines. Theres a fullness, a depth to "Twin Sunrise" that was missing from "Album". There are seven songs that vary from four minutes to over twelve minutes in length. Though the CD is not recorded at the highest level of clearness, the instruments are well arranged and the musicians seem bolder and more confident.
"Midday" gets things off with a sound similar to "Album", soaring and anthemesque, yet with wonderful acoustic interludes. The second track, "Search", begins with sounds of a running stream and echoing synth. The soft and ethereal sounds of acoustic guitar almost remind one of New Age but the song quickly progresses into a tight rhythmic driving type of progressive fusion. Theres wonderful piano here and a singing fretless bass thats played at extremely high pitch. A jazzy feel and classical elements make this song a harbinger of the many eclectic moments that await us throughout this album.
"Burn the Witch", track three, almost sounds Baroque from its first few notes, but the soft passages that follow is wonderful day dreaming music. As expected, the song lifts to another mid tempo, yet very pretty song, complete with elevating flute. The pastoral nature effects are back with "Hymn". The song also is one of the CDs only two vocal tracks. Both female and male choral work add a nice effect, though its all chanting without words. Also some scorching guitar really lifts things until were dropped to another pretty moment of soft piano. Heavy analogue synth and pounding rhythms make "The Place" seem like its going to be a rocker. The song slows to become a pop ballad. The male vocals are fine but the commercial "hit" intent is what ruins this song. It is so out of place with the rest of the album. Thankfully it's the shortest song on this 54 minute album and therefore can be ignored.
"The Landing" (10:00) and "Twin Sunrise" (12:19) close off the album with the two strongest songs. Their length allows Dogma to try out many things. "The Landing" starts with nature effects a thunderstorm and soon weaves a prominent keys-driven melody into the songs fabric. Spanish guitar takes over from time to time and is very well incorporated into the sounds. Now comes "Twin Sunrise". Light, fluffy piano, then a pounding chord. Soon were swept up into a flurry of fusion, frenetic screeching synth. After a climax, were floating in Klaus Schultze type space swirling. Wonderfully moody and atmospheric. Dogmas use of fretless bass is particularly effective here. A new melody of flute samples and acoustic guitar lead us into another rocking passage with some great bass and drums. Some nice Hammond work rounds out the song before we're treated to a rousing climax. A nice end to a beautifully crafted album.
Unfortunately Dogmas bassist died recently and any information on the band is hard to find. A source in Rio informs me that the bad has, sadly, disbanded. This is a real shame but enough activity in the Brazilian prog rock scene guarantees that each member and their talents will be surely absorbed.