Of Italian extraction and possessed of a deep-seated love for classic hard rock and mid-90s alternative, dangerego sound as if they were weaned on a diet of Guns ‘n’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots and Black Sabbath, their melodic, hard-driven songs often walking the fine line between the pop sensibility required to deliver a truly memorable chorus and the desire to simply put pedal to the metal and rock out. Formed in 2005, Dangerego actually served up ‘autopsy’ in 2011, but it failed to reach international ears and thus the band have reissued the album via new label, Atomic Stuff, with an aim to bring their heavy, melodic missives to a wider audience.
Opening with ‘biting cold’ the band introduce themselves with the sort of crunchy riff that Soundgarden favoured on ‘Badmotorfinger’ only to pare things back on a verse that Sees Flavio Angelini align himself more with Scott Weiland’s school of singing then Chris Cornell’s. A crunchy, hard rock number, it is a fine start to the album and leads nicely to the splenetic ‘hell’s rage’, a track which kicks off with echoing guitar in the vein of ‘welcome to the jungle’, only to stagger into the sort of richly arranged hard rock that made Velvet Revolver’s debut album so appealing. Deserving of special note, the guitar interplay between Enrico Francesca and Lorenzo Giusti is a particular highpoint, and the fluid solos that dominate the second half of the track will appeal to fans of the big rock solo. Sticking very much in the same vein, ‘this madlove’ is a surprisingly funky number which underscores Claudio Zucchelli’s love of Billy Gould and the band’s love of Faith no More with its heavy guitars and taut rhythms only to wrong foot the listener and take a gorgeous detour into full-blown psychedelic rock. Next up is ‘runaway’, a similarly funky beast with distorted vocals and neat dynamic shifts. It carries with it a certain power and the band deliver their choruses with suitable conviction and earthen gravitas that will undoubtedly keep people’s attention. The excellently titled ‘hallucinations from “the space”’ is next and, as its title implies, it drifts into stoner territory with a huge grinding riff pounding away at its heart whilst Flavio delivers a suitably powerful vocal performance.
The second half of the album sees the band throw caution to the wind as they unveil the taut riffs of ‘light or darkness’, a full-throttle attack that sees the band pushing themselves to get the adrenalin pumping. Next up is ‘wings of freedom’ a track comprising a rich selection of riffs that builds slowly with the aid of Massimiliano Innocenti’s beautifully arranged drums, creepy samples and typically fine guitar work. In contrast, ‘ultimate judgement’ is a heavy, fast-paced track with a stuttering riff and memorable chorus once again recalling Stone Temple Pilots’ melodic groove rock on ‘core’. With the album drawing towards its close, ‘you belong to me’ is a quiet, thoughtful track which shifts from reverb-drenched seventies pop to Sabbath-flavoured hard rock with deft skill – the distorted vocals and lengthy solos of the song’s latter stages being particularly impressive. The album’s final track, ‘prison’s escape’ sees the band in full on hard-rock mode, throwing harmonised solos, time changes and multi-tracked vocals into the mix for a suitably thrilling climax.
Overall ‘autopsy’ is a beautifully constructed hard rock album which nods to a number of different influences from the doomy power chords of Sabbath to the psychedelic-tinged alt-rock of Stone Temple Pilots and over the course of the ten tracks on offer, the band take every opportunity to demonstrate their ample skills. Well produced, the album sounds both ambitious and impressive with plenty of clarity and separation between instruments and the record does much to hark back to the mid-90s when alternative and hard rock bands would regularly enjoy radio play. Melodic, memorable and enjoyable, ‘Autopsy’ makes no attempt to reinvent the wheel, but with so few melodically-inclined hard rock bands out there, Dangerego mark out their territory with ease and are well worth checking out.