Some might have heard the name DARK MOOR. In 2003 singer Elisa C. Martin, guitarist Albert Maroto and drummer Jorge Saez left the band and shortly after founded DREAMAKER, who, fittingly enough, also signed with Spanish label Arise Records, where DARK MOOR also are under contract with. With guitarist Matías Sosa, bassist Carlos Pena and former DARK MOOR keyboarder Roberto P. Camus (who left the band after the recordings) the band was completed soon after.
Now I’ve been a fan of DARK MOOR almost since the very beginning and the first album after the big split has turned out to be a really good one. So does the debut of DREAMAKER now mean that instead of one very good band we now have two such calibres? Now one should think so, but let’s dig in a little deeper.
Direct comparisons between the two bands are inescapable and Elisa’s voice undoubtedly is the bridge between them as her voice is pretty unusual for a woman, as it is deeper, and also musically they are not that far off the original band, their own claim to get a bit more aggressive is realised, though, still there are a few differences that jump at you right at first listen that mark DREAMAKER from DARK MOOR.
After the regular intro “Dream Machines” “The Eye Of War” sets out with a lot of double bass and here something strikes already, which gets more or less prominent over the rest of the album as well – that the keyboards at times are a bit too much to the fore. The guitars, though, are a bit grittier than with DARK MOOR, while Elisa puts her trademark voice into the foreground, which is absolutely legitimate with such an expressive voice (despite an at times very strong accent). “Nighttimes Factory” brings in an a bit more progressive touch, which then also gets spiced up with quite some guitar volley, not bad, but somehow I miss a bit of the necessary dynamics.
“Without Angels“ reduces heaviness and speed a lot, a stomping mid tempo song with more emphasis on the melodies, which definitely also sounds good with DREAMAKER, no question. Also quite irresistible: the intense “Enemy” and right after “Forever In Your Arms” also surprises, very balladesque, with a certain NIGHTWISH touch in the keyboards, but then alternating with a pretty heavy passage. After that things get a little less convincing, no, not bad songs, but the compositions just lack something that makes them gripping, as “Alone Again” shows, well done, but something’s just missing.
And that is maybe the main problem of DREAMAKER’s debut. The songs are really well done and at times great, just here and there they lack something that would elevate them to the next level. And the Death Metal vocals of Ark 666 (IMPALED NAZARENE) and Jorge Saez on "Welcome To My Hell“ sound forced and the song would have sounded better without them.
The production from Sonic Pump Studios (KOTIPELTO, THUNDERSTONE, WARMEN) and the mastering by Mika Jussila (does this man ever sleep or something?) almost naturally is great, while the cover art by Niklas Sundin definitely is not among his best, doesn’t give me much, in the past weeks/months I almost have the feeling as if he does too many covers and loses some of his freshness.
Altogether we have one of those albums, which are good, but somehow don’t manage to grip you. And I think that one should not treat DREAMAKER as a regular newcomer as three fifths of the band already had done several albums with DARK MOOR. Still I can say that even though “Human Device” has not turned out to be an outstanding album, it still nicely differs from the majority of related releases, not least thanks to the tight performance and Elisa’s vocals. But best thing would be to decide for yourself… (Online April 17, 2004)