posted on 6/2008 By:
Upon initial listen I found Belgium's Dedicted rather ordinary, but their debut album has grown on me a fair bit. A slightly progressive take on Meshuggah-inspired metalcore, Argonauts has its fair share of catchy grooves and memorable songwriting. While not particularly original, this band is working within the metalcore genre in ways that are different from what is currently the norm. Sure, there's quite a bit of the dreaded clean singing here, but at least it sounds more appropriately metal in context rather than emo/pop. Argonauts has been produced wonderfully, and at forty-two minutes is a fairly tight and breezy listen. There's just enough here of what I like in metalcore for Dedicted to be a reasonably strong proposition, provided they continue to develop and push their sound forward.
From the moment "The Revenant" kicks off, it's pretty obvious that Dedicted are well versed in their Meshuggah collection, having appropriated that band's machine-like groove quite effectively. But it soon becomes apparent that these guys have broader tastes and have paid attention to what the likes of Textures and The Ocean have been doing as well. Lead throat Mehdi's one-dimensional snarl is a little monotonous but gets the job done, whereas the clean vocals of drummer Jason have a decent hard rock/metal styling that are convincing for the most part (the all too poppy refrain of "Heretic" being the main exception). None of the eight tracks on Argonauts are anything less than solid, but there are a few that really hit "the zone." "A Darker Shade" is the album's most intense song with a genuinely raging momentum, while the closing title track features the most convincing growled/clean vocal interplay and some beautifully atmospheric guitar.
Argonauts is a strong first effort from Dedicted, and an enjoyable listen. These guys have impressive technicality, and display a welcome appreciation for dynamics as well as an aptitude for a strong hook. Dedicted aren't particularly innovative or outstanding as yet but are successfully combining their influences into tight, polished songs. They've also got their bases well covered in terms of musicianship and production, so there's little holding them back. If your listening habits cover metalcore, the Neur-Isis school and Meshuggah, Dedicted represent an interesting and tasteful meeting of these styles and are well worth a listen.
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