Avoiding the sophomore jinx which often befalls bands , Quebec's Dagmahr have followed up their critically acclaimed ( in obscure progressive circles ,of course) debut My Magnificent Instability with an even more impressive disc. I must begin ,however, by disagreeing with the title of the disc which seems to go hand-in-hand with the grammatically incorrect; poorly expressed message from guitarist/lead vocalist Mathieu Lessard on the inner sleeve of the CD. He claims, in his broken English, that progressive rock is in sorry shape today since everyone is trying to emulate the giants of yesteryear without surpassing them; hence the title As Far As We Get. This boggles my mind as his own band is a perfect example of musicians reaching beyond the idealist trappings of the '70's to create a contemporary progressive rock which borrows freely from yesterday but remains firmly rooted in the direction of prog in the 21st century.
For those new to the band, Dagmahr is a quartet made up of the above mentioned Mathieu Lessard
(guitar, lead and backing vocals), Philippe Lachance (drums ,percussions, bass pedals), Pierre Massicotte (synthesizers, Hammond organ), and Jean-Guy Mossu (bass guitar). The band's style is a unique blend of darker elements from long-time greats such as Genesis, VDGG ,and to a lesser extent, Pink Floyd. Keyboardist Pierre Massicotte creates lush, atmospheric backdrops to Mathieu Lessard's crooning vocals and bluesy / folky guitar wailings. This disc may well be a concept of sorts as the tracks tend to flow into each other beautifully. Without a lyrics sheet, it is hard to follow the ambiguous lyrical content. The music is brooding, dark, and obscure. The band relies more on atmosphere than chops to convey a sense of foreboding. This is not to say that they can't "prog out" on occasion. "Perpetual Attrition" shows off Pierre Massicotte's prowess on the mighty Hammond, as he belts out fills reminiscent of the great Tony Banks. Most tracks are dominated though, by the caterwauling, cry-baby vocals of Lessard. His voices seems to blend the better elements of the legendary Peter Hammill with contemporaries such as Roine Stolt (Flower Kings) and fellow Quebecois crooner Stephen Geysens (Visible Wind) thrown into the mix. The biggest drawbacks to the disc could be it's relatively short length and the absence of any standout tracks to showcase the band. Recommended to those who enjoy the broodier side of progressive rock.