David Maxim Micic
01. Everything’s Fine
02. Where Is Now?
05. Wrinkle Maze
BILO 3.0 represents a culmination of several aspects in the life of David Maxim Micic, treading familiar territory in the realm of progressive metal, but offering each of its elements in such a curious juxtaposition that the final product is a treasure unlike anything collected in the genre.
BILO 3.0 begins innocently enough, with a lilting piano melody with intentional accidents swelling into a violently sad-yet-hopeful violin strand reminiscent of works by Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda, the artists responsible for the legendary music of Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger, respectively. Soon after, the music explodes into a well-placed-but-generic combination of overdubbed choral work and typical “djent” riffing. If there’s one pitfall to the album it’s that the spinal guitar work leaves something to be desired as far as flair is concerned. Nothing particularly wrong here, but with such fantastic instrumentation littered throughout, there’s a certain empty headspace present.
Regardless of its straight-faced, lackluster backbone, BILO 3.0 receives help from outside sources, providing a Gestaltist realization that Micic likely would not have achieved on his own. Mina Mladenovic offers the beautiful violin solo in “Everything’s Fine,” while Jakub Zytecki lends his guitar handiwork in the wonderful solo to “Where Is Now?” Track three, “Smile,” is decidedly the showcase track as it features a disturbed vocal performance by Aleksandra Djelmas, proposing a desperate and distraught situation of endless blackness deep within one’s self, perhaps a furious cry for soul searching and, in turn, sweet release. Countering the gruffness we have Vladimir Lalic‘s operatic style adding a more demented twist to the hazardous center of the album which is ultimately capped by a life-giving solo by the oft-apocalyptic Jeff Loomis.
After the rapturous rupture that is “Smile,” however, “Nostalgia” presents a more stony performance, almost as if being a passive player, serving more as a lengthy segue to the tear-inducing “Wrinkle Maze” than a track on its own. By contrast, our new destination is a breathtaking halt throwing back to the beginning of the album with yet another piano melody moving into a vocal-laden choral crescendo accentuated by a magnificent guitar solo by Per Nilsson. All the parts of “Wrinkle Maze” mirror earlier moments, but couple with an overall different tone; more of an asseveration versus a repetition. An acknowledgement of the past, but indicative of growth.
“Daydreamers,” as the final track of BILO 3.0, has a hidden title with no name. One such moniker that can be bestowed is “Affirmation.” With our slight retread of musical thematics in “Wrinkle Maze,” we find the apogee of Micic’s latest work in the 11-minute endeavor. The musical journey ends with series of vocal trade-offs by Aleksandra Radosavljevic and Vladimir Lalic, with Aleksandra delivering guides in the form of hopeful words while Vladimir demands submission to pain and humanity, ultimately reminding you that you have but one life to lead and to make the most of it.
“Daydreamers” is further accented halfway through by the innocent inclusion of Micic’s niece, Dunja Markovic, and her angelic, virginal voice pouring through without a care. Backed by a slowly rising instrumentation that politely fuses electronic elements with acoustic rock staples before returning to the resolute rock elements, “Daydreamers” delivers as what may be one of the most inspiring tracks of the year with an anguish-relieving scream from Vladimir before the song fades into nothingness by way of mere whispers.
A mood setter. Thinking man’s music. Anthemic. Whatever you choose to dub BILO 3.0, it is undoubtedly one of the finest albums 2013 has to offer. You are doing yourself a disservice by overlooking it.
David Maxim Micic’s BILO 3.0 gets…