After the disappointment of 2004’s ‘’The Book Of Heavy Metal’’ I’ve not exactly been holding out for a new DREAM EVIL album with bated breath. And given the internal upheavals in the band since the last release I am amazed that they’ve managed to pull together to record a fourth album. Even so I’d almost given up hope of the band re-capturing the highs of their well received 2002 debut ‘’Dragon Slayer’’ but I am eating some humble pie here and proclaiming that this is the best DREAM EVIL since that debut four years ago.
But let’s not get carried away. The essential ingredients of pure True Power Metal still reigned unbridled. Searing riffs, howling vocals, double bass pounding, gorgonzola rife lyrics and more compound Metal than a Heinz tin factory; rally the call as if Sweden was under attack from the demons of false Metal.
However internal turmoil or not the DREAM EVIL sound has been beefed up and squeezed tighter than a strangler’s garrotte. The two year interlude since the last album has galvanised the band into a quite fearsome Metal tour de force. There’s a freshness and cohesion permeating ‘’United’’ It’s almost ironic to use the term mature Power Metal band but in the twelve songs listed DREAM EVIL has almost re-invented themselves.
There’s real bite in songs like ‘’Back From The Dead’’, ‘’Let Me Out’’, ‘’Doomlord’’ and the opening anthem ‘’Fire! Battle! In Metal!’’ featuring one of Metal finest but crass choruses. One can’t help but raise a horned fist in recognition! As expected Niklas Isfeldt bellows with a degree of control and power so crucial to a Power Metal singer. The guitar sound of the Fredrik Nordstrom and Mark Black is immense and easily tops that of HAMMERFALL and PRIMAL FEAR two of DREAM EVIL’S nearest rivals. A cascade of riffs and showers of solos tumble from each song with glee and determination. There’s also a move into more Melodic Power Metal territory especially on the driving infused riffing of ‘’Blind Evil’’ or ‘’Higher On Fire’’ without losing those vital components of the DREAM EVIL sound. The riffs could still move mountains but it’s mid-paced with a measure of commerciality in the vocals and chorus.
All in all a triumphant return to form and I thought I’d never say that about DREAM EVIL!
(Online May 22, 2007)