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Believer - Dimensions (Re-issue)

Retroactive Records

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Believer.  The name still has a sweet sound to it although it's been a dozen years since their last album, Dimensions, was released.  The band who disbanded while at the top of their game left behind three incredible thrash albums that wowed the music world and continue to until this current day.  Where other band's old material sounds dated, Believer had the ability to make music that was timeless.  All three albums are considered classics in every sense of the word. 
 
Until this year, Believer's albums were starting to become hard to find unless you were willing to pay a premium price.  Thankfully, with the help of Retroactive Records, Sanity Obscure and now Dimensions have been re-released.  And as you might recall, M8 Records also re-released Extraction from Mortality a few years ago as well.  So, all those Believer fans who never got the albums on CD, or all those late coming Believer fans have a second chance to snag these works of art.
 
Dimensions itself, while being somewhat different from their past two releases, was nothing short of a masterpiece.  Where Believer's first two albums were full of relentless thrash metal, Dimensions borrows more heavily from classical music and turns this third album into a classical/thrash album...so to speak.  Don't worry though, the band is still undeniably thrash, but with the addition of violinist Scott Laird, cello player Glenn Fischbach, and soprano Julianne Laird, the band had solidified its intent to travel more down the road that "Dies Irae" took us on the Sanity Obscure album.  One of my favorite songs on this album is probably the mellowest of the bunch.  The third track, "Dimentia", mixes beautiful violins, with soft acoustic guitars, along with punishing thrash on the choruses.  While the verses are spoken in haunting fashion by Kurt Bachman, the choruses are angrily spouted in his usual thrash vocals.  Every song on this disc is fabulous, full of ultra-technical thrash at its finest.  But another standout cut is the over 20 minute marathon, "The Trilogy of Knowledge".  The song mixes Believer's signature thrash with heavy doses of violin, cello, and viola with the soprano vocals of Laird dueling back and forth with Bachman's thrash vocals.  Over 20 minutes, but never a dull moment.  The album ends with the music stopping and Bachman softly saying something like..."take care, we love you, bye bye."  And so ended Believer's reign of thrash.
 
Well, not so fast.  This Retroactive release also includes three bonus live tracks!  However, the three tracks...."Blemished Sacrifices", "The Chosen", and "Stress" are a huge disappointment.  The production on these live tracks is horrendous!  Coupled with the fact that it doesn't even feel like live tracks because you never hear a cheering crowd or anything...before, during, or after the songs.  It says they were from a concert in "1989".  However, the equipment used to record the songs must have come from 1889, cause God knows even a hand held tape recorder could have done a better job.   I love bonus tracks on re-releases, but this was something I could've done without.  I never had the privilege of seeing Believer live, and I know that this let down was not what I would have heard if I had.
 
Other than that, this is a great re-release.  The original had two different covers, one the REX version and one the Roadrunner version.  This one has the Roadrunner artwork, but I really prefer the REX artwork myself.  The lyrics are included and the album was digitally remastered.
 
There has been some controversy between the band and the label on this re-release, but I'm not going to get into it here or take sides cause I don't know the whole story.  Maybe we'll find out the truth one day.  Either way, this is an album that needed to see the light of day again and I strongly urge all those that have been searching long and hard for this album to pick it up while you can.  After all, it's limited to 1000 copies and you may not get that third chance.  (Review by Matt)

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