During the Summer 2016, at a homeless hostel in York, and with over 20 years of addiction as inspiration, D.Ni.L began his multi-instrumental solo project, and started working on his first album: “This In’t A Party” (May 2017), followed by “Suicide In Sips” (November 2017) and now the third album, just released: “Boy. Inside”. The artist’s name, D.Ni.L (pronounced denial) symbolizes how he started off his journey of recovery through music, with bravado and a sense of dark-glamour, in denial of the sordid reality of his life as an addict. Fusing elements of post-rock, rap, math-rock, indie and metal – D.Ni.L’s influences are eclectic, ranging from Deftones and Slint to Michael Jackson and Marvin Gaye, to Plan B and Eminem.
Explosive. In my humble opinion, that is the best adjective for the latest album by D.Ni.L. A catchy, yet vicious message of hostility and warning towards the misuse of drugs. A call for battle, to stand for your ideals and to call war upon the enemy – in this case drugs and alcohol.
This is never directly or literally stated, as D.Ni.L. sings and raps accounts of his own experiences, but it is implicitly implied within the not too subliminal messages. This album has a thrashing intensity that teaches most rock and rap crossover bands a lesson or two, as does the visceral passion that drips through every note.
The fusion of rap and rock is matched by nobody in the underground that I can currently think of. D.Ni.L.’s guitar is on fire and he makes it scorch, groove, scream and squeal throughout these songs. This man can certainly pull some sounds out of his instrument.
Of course another attractive factor are the pissed-off and bitter vocals. He sings, raps and spits his guts out with heart and soul. A venomous tongue, by all means. But D.Ni.L. can also easily handle rock’s melodically soaring anthems, and gives ample proof of the power of his vocal cords on this album.
D.Ni.L. succeeds where so many others have failed, translating his barely contained pent-up emotions into something legitimate and tangible. When he expresses the themes of love, hate, and relationships where he has been treated badly or abusively –that connection always refers to his relationship with drugs or alcohol.
All one truly needs to do to experience this album is to pop it into the player and let the music speak for itself; it is that good. “Boy. Inside’s” whiplash sonic shifts and industrial makeup make comparisons with other similar releases difficult. This is an almost standalone genre.
As a result, you get moments like the pounding rap single “Glue”, or the melodic crossover rock of “Gutted”. By the time you hit play on the bone-crushing riffs of “Safe To Say”, or the ambient guitars in the opening bars of “Without You”, you’ll realize that this is a trailblazing album, that fuses genres, more than crosses them.
D.Ni.L. provides not only solos but riffs that are nothing short of awesome and the album is absolutely overflowing with examples of his prowess. His ability to blend rap with rock is exceptional, and although I’ve heard plenty of solid tracks that fuse/blend the rap and rock genres, none have been able to come close to what D.Ni.L. does on this album.
Beautiful too, is the sprawling jangly guitars on the clean and melodic “Eager Eyes”, as is another outstanding highlight, the rhythmically punctuated title track “Boy Inside”. If music is your drug of choice, then “August”, “In Jars” and “Gone Away” are the doses you should be getting – classic, alternative rock tracks coupled with complex and tight arrangements, and built upon propelling rhythms and elastic vocal performances.
A triad of back-to-back tracks, that musically, may just be the best set on the entire album. It’s hard not to notice the skillfully crafted instrumentation, the energy, and massiveness that D.Ni.L. has created here. But to be honest D.Ni.L. is in fine form all-round, running the gamut from fiery street barks to impassioned falsettos. His introspective and outspoken writing maintains a combination of qualities: direct, heartfelt, focused and substantial.
The 11-track album “Boy. Inside” is available to stream on all major platforms, and/or purchased as a limited-edition CD album featuring 16-page lyric-booklet. All tracks can be previewed/downloaded, and the CD can be purchased from D.Ni.L’s official website https://www.d-ni-l.com/