Arwen - Memories Of A Dream

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Arise Metal
Catalog Number: Arise 038
Format: CD
Total Time: 50:05:00

Eight-piece metal bands are a genuine rarity in the world of music. Ok, some bands are formed with a second guitarist or a band may try to add some colour to an album by incorporating twin vocalists, but a band that incorporates both of these PLUS two keyboardists - all as full-time members - is astonishing. Arwen - with male and female vocalists, two lead guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and two keyboardists (one male, one female) - are another band on the Arise Metal label who have created a consistent, enjoyable metal album.

Musically, Arwen play a combination of Southern European metal such as Labyrinth (Return To Heaven Denied-era), Rhapsody and Dark Moor but also South American band Angra. The main focus of the band seems to be on high vocals, mid-paced melody-driven metal with classical keyboards (ala Stratovarius) and plenty of lead guitar work. For a large band, the music is quite mature and luckily for us they don't succumb to the trap of playing metal as fast as possible, instead opting for creating world class, classical metal. At times, though, the sound seems a little under-developed but they do have a very good thing going here and I really hope they bring the full-flavour of the band to the fore in future releases.

Nacho Ruiz, the main (male) vocalist, is at times is a dead-ringer for Andre Matos (Shaman, ex-Angra) but without the power to transcend from mid-range to high notes in a smooth, flowing nature. Still, he is very intriguing to hear with notes and accented sections where you would say it's Andre himself ("Time's Gate" and "Dreamland" are classic examples). The female vocals, performed by Mamen Castano, are actually few and far between, which is unfortunate because, if they developed her as a more prominent member, then Arwen could definitely become more rounded. Mamen performs a lot of the backing vocals on the album but she does have her moments in the sun with, most notably, "Once Upon A Time."

The complete package has been heard in other bands but Memories Of A Dream is definitely above average and no matter how many times I hear similar albums, it is always fun to find another one that does the job and does it well. If there was a problem with the album is that their sound becomes a tad stale after 50 minutes and the vocal melodies are sometimes repetitive. Still, the music is a highlight when they don't overdose on the keyboards.

With plenty of leading solos and complex music, Memories Of A Dream is not just straight-up bombastic power metal. Arwen have released an album that is one for metalheads and musicians alike and one that will attract lovers of all things Tolkien-based, too.

Oh, and the reason for so many band members? It's because the band want to perform live without the use of samples. A good call considering the complexity, at times, with which they play.

Similar To: Angra, Labyrinth, Rhapsody

PPO Rating: 6/10

Transcendental Overture / Dreamland / Between Love And Pain / Time's Gate / Alone / So High / Woodheart / Once Upon A Time / Eternally / At The End / New Life

Nacho Ruiz - vocals
Jose A. Garrido - guitar
Alberto Avilés - guitar
Luis M. Hernandez - bass
M. Carmen Castaño - backing vocals
Rosalva Alonso - keyboards
Nacho Arriaga - drums
Javi Díez - keyboards

Memories Of A Dream (2002)
Illusions (2004)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin ES

Added: December 8th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 1058
Language: english


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