Jul 2013 02

Dharmata 101 - The Five ShacklesDharmata 101
Category: Synthpop / Rock / Alternative
Album: The Five Shackles
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: A profoundly rich and exuberantly luscious collection of songs that will see you through from the state of indifference to the verge of a small catharsis.


For over a decade, Dharmata 101 seemed to struggle to polish and release this concept album, intended initially as the band’s debut but the long delayed arrival of The Five Shackles is much welcome; the music itself as surprisingly diverse as it is all around accomplished. Benefiting from a wide range of inspirations that surely pulled the record in several different directions, this final version of the record that almost never was comes together confidently, nurtured by the undeniable talent for entertaining compositions.

Any easy categorizations do not necessarily apply to the body of work of JSun Bruner’s project, but Snog’s mellow, progressive songwriting that echoes through the passages of opening “Mile One” and beyond sets the closest possible reference for Dharmata 101’s signature mélange of folk influences, electronic pulse, and straight up rock acoustics. Quickly though, the listener is able to emancipate from the constraint of the genre templates and The Five Shackles begins to outgrow one’s initial assumptions about its form and content. While the record’s first track is prominently and accessibly laid upon the threshold to the elusive musical realms, its catchy chorus and instantly memorable guitar hook tempting the audience, it is not until the second half that the music begins to truly bloom and resonate.

That is not to say that the path to the enlightenment contained within is not embellished with material of value and substance. The upbeat tempo of the glitchy and beeping “Magnetic Stripe Down” confirms the presence of a dichotomous creative flux, shaping the release and in equal parts devoted to notions of industrial grittiness and experimental alternative. From the catchy rhythms to the intensely dramatic choruses of “Emoticon,” Dharmata 101 confidently leads the audience towards the massive surprises like the majestically proportioned “Beautiful,” filled with romantic passages of echoing voices and gentle accents of synthesizers that set the nostalgic rhythm before the tempo escalates and layers of sound come crashing down in a swirling cacophony. The closure might indeed come prematurely for those devotees of weightier, metallic textures that will surely enjoy “Undermind”’s powerful fusion of pure industrial rage and lyrical vocal intensity that explodes organically in the track’s final, truly electrifying, noisy stretch.

Hidden beneath the Buddhist inspired imagery is a record that betrays the band’s vast infatuation with various forms of musical expression, but never lets it run amok. Instead of blindly sending love cards to giants of pop, industrial, and folk rock, Dharmata 101 takes what is needed for The Five Shackles to reverberate with undeniable power. The songs you will find here might reflect those changing genre influences, but they always lead you somewhere – to a powerful crescendo or another memorable chorus, never leaving any listener without rewards and lasting impressions.
Track list:

  1. Mile One
  2. Magnetic Stripe Down
  3. O2
  4. Emoticon
  5. Beautiful
  6. Emancip8
  7. Cuddlefish (Intermission)
  8. Hello Cruel World
  9. > I (Dada in Motion)
  10. Undermind (Mara’s Sweet Nothings)
  11. The Five Shackles
  12. I Am the Chain

Dharmata 101 MySpace https://myspace.com/dharmata101
Dharmata 101 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/dharmata101
Dharmata 101 ReverbNation http://www.reverbnation.com/dharmata101
Dharmata 101 SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/dharmata-101
Dharmata 101 Bandcamp http://dharmata101.bandcamp.com
Purchase at:
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)

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