Dream Evil - Six - (4/10)
Published on October 3, 2017
Label:Century Media Records
Has it really been 7 years since we last heard a peep from Fredrik Nordström’s baby? In all honesty, time isn’t at all a factor for the Swedes of Dream Evil. Subsequent albums don’t build upon the foundations of the last – they just simply exist in the same middle-of-the-road heavy metal universe. It may as well be 2002 for all the progression we are to expect from 2017’s Six (kudos to the creativity of the title – this being their sixth album and all…). Now, I love my metal with huge swathes of cheese – I even admit to heartily enjoying both 2002’s Dragonslayer and 2005’s The Book Of Heavy Metal. In their own, pompous way, these are fun records with over-the-top clichés and genuinely heavy riffs. However, this simply isn’t the style of band that can pull off a ‘big comeback’ unless serious alterations are made. And have they been made? I’ll give you two guesses…
If you enjoy anything else this band have ever done, or anything by Manowar, or Majesty, or…you know what I’m getting at… then you’ll like Six. But that’s the problem, you will just ‘like’ it. It’s so unspectacular it almost becomes insignificant. Now, if there were a tongue-in-cheek, humorous aspect to the music then it might have scored higher because self-awareness takes away the edge of pomposity. But these guys are deadly serious. Take a listen to “The Book Of Heavy Metal”. What happened to that attitude? Some of that shit is SO cheesy, it’s laugh-out-loud entertaining and barrels of fun! This grave tone undercuts the admittedly heavy-as-fuck guitar tone, almost undermining themselves. The palm-muted chugs on this album are some of the best moments due to the sheer weight of that guitar sound. “Under Attack” especially is full of it. It’s so chunky, I want to bite a slice out of it.
Bass, drums and guitar are all mixed perfectly, but Nick’s vocals – despite being powerful after all these years – are way too far forward in the mix. At times he’s piercing, especially in his upper register. Thankfully he’s backed up by the uber-manly chorus at many points throughout the album, which are a delight to sing along with. If you needed proof that these guys were attempting to stage a ‘comeback’, then look no further than the opening track, which they titled not-at-all-narcissistically “Dream Evil”. When a band does that, it definitely means something. Thankfully, this is one of the best tracks on the album with its pounding, martial pace and massive chorus. The follow-up, “Antidote”, is also one of the highlights thanks to its Firewind-esque main riff and Accept-esque refrain (‘AND WEEEE’RE THE ANTIDOTE!”).
Unfortunately, by the time tracks three and four (“Sin City” and “Creature Of The Night” – I know, could this get any more generic?) pass you by, you’re ready to peel your head off the desk and press, nay, punch the stop button. There are some glorious moments littered throughout this record, but they get eclipsed by the maelstrom of mediocre din surrounding them. The sixth track on Six, “Six Hundred And 66” (I’m gonna vomit), may have the worst title since Annihilator’s “Metal”, but damn it has a groovy main riff! Same goes for the swinging “Broken Wings”. But all is in vain – this entire affair is sixty minutes long for goodness sake. I’m surprised they didn’t make it sixty-six minutes long…with sixteen tracks! Frankly, the fourteen we are presented with is more than enough. Go buy this disc if you need to have everything Nordström has ever done, but don’t come crying to me if you end up on a shrink’s couch with hexakosioihexekontahexaphobia.