Go back in time, for a moment, to the early-to-mid-90’s, an era that makes any Melodic Death Metal fan salivate. With game-changing releases like “The Jester Race,” “Slaughter of the Soul,” and “The Gallery,” to name a few of the obvious, it seemed like great albums were coming out of Scandinavia by the truckload. Meanwhile, across the world in Mexico, BURIED DREAMS was quietly releasing material, trying to step out of the shadow of the genre’s big names.
Let’s face it: you (or I for that matter) have probably never heard BURIED DREAMS name-dropped in even the same sentence as IN FLAMES or DARK TRANQUILLITY. Despite recruiting big name producer Fredrik Nördstrom (IN FLAMES, AT THE GATES, DARK TRANQUILLITY), BURIED DREAMS’ music never quite caught on like their peers’ did (and looking at the sorry state of Melodic Death Metal these days, maybe that’s for the best). Anyhow, this didn’t stop them from releasing a gem of an album.
I won’t claim that “Perceptions” is at all as influential or innovative as its predecessors; it’s not. But it’s not a carbon copy, either. In fact, that’s the biggest strength of the album’s sound; it doesn’t re-hash, but rather synthesizes the multiple sounds that came out of Gothenburg. BURIED DREAMS capture the rawness of early AT THE GATES, while sporting dynamic song structures including clean sections that wouldn’t be out of place on “The Gallery.” Highlighting the album is the epic closing song “Gods of Fire,” which is one of the better Melodic Death Metal tracks I’ve heard in a long while. The rest of the album rarely fails to showcase leads and melodies that are on-par and often much, much better than most acts claiming the Gothenburg sound these days, and are backed by a solid, often technical rhythm section.
Speaking of technicality, “Perceptions” has no shortage of rapid rhythm changes, odd timing, and complex song structures. What’s truly surprising is how well BURIED DREAMS balance their melodic tendencies with their technical style of songwriting; the former never has to sacrifice itself for the sake of the latter, and vice versa. After all, technicality is one thing. Melody is another; but both coexisting in every song? That takes a kind of talent that many bands lack.
In the end, “Perceptions” isn’t groundbreaking. It doesn’t try to be. Instead, it’s a refreshing journey back to a time when Melodic Death Metal wasn’t the worn-down, stale genre it is today. BURIED DREAMS, now split-up, would never end up receiving as much attention as Gothenburg’s top acts. Regardless, “Perceptions” is an excellent addition to the library of any Death Metal fan.