Daydream XI - The Grand Disguise - (9/10)
Published on October 23, 2014
Brazil’s scene has been going strong for decades now, spitting out high-calibre acts in pretty much all styles, but power metal always has been a stronghold for the South American country. After one EP and a single, Porto Alegre’s Daydream XI are now offering us their full-length debut The Grand Disguise and some may recognize singer/guitarist Tiago Masseti’s name from his other band Magician. While following down a similar path with its progressive power metal, there still are enough distinctive differences to set the two bands apart, with Daydream XI ultimately gaining the upper hand.
One of The Grand Disguise’s biggest feats is to bring a lot of variation into the songs without really getting “progressive” (making the categorization as progressive power metal potentially a little misleading) and one of its biggest assets undoubtedly is Tiago’s voice, which really manages to elevate the already strong compositions. An opener’s main task is to sink the hooks in, draw listeners in and get them to buy the CD and “Keeping the Dream Alive” is doing an awesome job at this, flowing between mid and up tempo, with superb melodies and drive, but without neglecting the heaviness.
The album seamlessly flows between different tempos, complementing pounding drums and heavy guitars with beautiful melodies and outstanding vocals, some with more progressive undertones, while others take a more direct route. “Like Darkness Rules the Night” excels with a brilliant chorus and great dynamics, “Watch Me Rise” emphasizes the straighter, more powerful side of the band, whereas galloping “The Guts of Hell” reminds a bit of Germany’s Angel Dust in places, showing the band’s versatility.
Everything pales in its ambition, though, to the closing title track that clocks in at almost 24 minutes and only few bands know how to pull off such a monstrosity of a song without getting tangled in the many potential pitfalls of a song that long and Daydream XI avoid these masterfully. Covering the whole spectrum from acoustic guitars to full double-bass attacks, “The Grand Disguise” shows both restraint and bold colours, painting a highly varied picture that shows plenty of details within, with intricate technicality giving way to sweeping instrumental passages, never really making the listener realize what a mammoth of a track this is!
Completed with a clear and balanced production, Daydream XI have all the pieces in place to make an impression in the somewhat progressive power metal scene, especially since they have an excellent vocalist in their ranks that manages to heave the songs to the next level.
The Grand Disguise is a great debut that shows the potential these Brazilians have in at times already impressive fashion. Dynamic flow, soaring vocals, great melodies and a good crunch come together into a grand whole that will take many genre fans (and colleagues) by surprise. Daydream XI are not just a fleeting attempt, but a force to be reckoned with within the power metal scene and this is just the beginning…!