Dream Evil - Dragonslayer

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Century Media
Catalog Number: 8022-2
Format: CD
Total Time: 44:18:00

Dream Evil (photo: Pers Stalfors)Dream Evil, the Swedish quintet formed by guitarist/producer Fredrik Norströrm and guitarist Gus G, released their debut CD earlier this year called Dragonslayer. Their sound is that of classic metal without being a rip off. Sure the concepts and ideas are heavy metal staples ... the album's title alone is a key, but also track titles like "Kingdom Of The Damned," "The Chosen Ones," "The Prophecy" ... all ring of "heard it before." I mean, even being Swedish seems a bit clich? now. No, one will not say that Dream Evil will turn the metal world on its head with its unique take on the genre. Dream Evil plays it very safe, very comfortable.

But wait. If you think I'm on the precipice of saying some bad things about Dream Evil, I'm not. Actually, I rather like this CD. It's all so very engaging and done well -- solid musicianship and great vocals. Sure vocalist Niklas Istfeldt often sounds like DC Cooper ... though there are a few moments when I also thought of Damien Wilson. Rounding out the fivesome are Snowy Shaw on drums and Peter Stålfors on bass, each contributing power to the band's overall sound. Speedy guitar riffs abound, and each track is interspersed with the occasional screaming guitar accent... that is, bits of guitar flare out of the mix.

Dragonslayer, a concept album, moves along at quick pace -- in fact, no sooner do you press play (or slip it into your self-starting car audio system) that you get screaming guitars and bashing drums bursting forth from the speakers. While Iron Maiden-like loaping rhythms are felt throughout, the band bring in a little bit of a Judas Priest influence with "Heavy Metal In The Night," though perhaps calling it an Iron Priest like track might be a little more accurate. Kind of like a mix between "Aces High" and "Another Thing Coming" with a bit of a swagger. That swagger returns with "Save Us" and "H.M.J.," the latter which takes the drive of hard rock and amps up a bit more with blustery bravado.

Dream Evil play, if you have guessed by now, a heavy, melodic brand of metal. Each track has it's charms though my favorites are "Chasing The Dragon," "Kingdom Of The Damned," and "The Prophecy." Like what one expects from this type of music, the choruses are memorable and hummable, not just in the tracks I've cited, but throughout the album. "Save Us" slinks about a bit like Whitesnake, with a much heavier bite. "The Chosen Ones" is a darker, gloomier, moodier piece with a chorus of voices during choruses -- yeh, that's expected -- think a more melodic Blind Guardian with smooth voiced frontman. This kind of Teutonic metal returns with "The 7th Day." Royal Hunt will most definitely come to mind with the power ballad of "Losing You," which features the Gothenburg Philharmonic's string section. In fact, I'd say that folks who find Blind Guardian a little thick, this lighter version might appeal to those who like the sword n' sorcery elements of fantasy metal but like cleaner vocal and a little more melodicism as well.

Whether "H.M.J." was intended to funny or not, I think it is. I mean, fortunately this isn't this band's overriding statement, that there are stronger tracks on the album lyrically, though very much clich? ridden. The concept in this particular track... well, the title stands for "Heavy Metal Jesus" and posits... no. No. I won't tell you... it will leave you with the wrong impression of this band. I can't believe the "silly, improbable lyrics" filter didn't catch this one and send it back to the idea board. Oh, I'm sure there are those who will, at mention of the title, fret over blasphemy or something. You'll be too busy rolling on the floor with laughter to worry about being offended... The lyrics themselves didn't come with the promo, and so I'm going mostly by someone's transcription but they match up pretty much with what I hear... Yes, I really hope they were being funny. (Looking at an interview with Nordström at Metal-Rules.com, this ties in with the "The Prophecy").

But, you know, this album is good and this quintet is off to a great start. They should take what they've done with the first half of the album and build upon it for their next release. News on their website says that they are already working on that follow up which should see release in Europe in January 2003.

Chasing The Dragon (4:01) / In Flames You Burn (4:34) / Save Us (3:39) / Kingdom Of The Damned (3:54) / The Prophecy (4:14) / The Chosen Ones (5:02) / Losing You (5:56) / The 7th Day (3:33) / Heavy Metal In The Night (4:54) / H.M.J (2:46) / Hail To The King (3:30) / Outro (0:15)

Fredrik Nordström - guitars & keyboards
Gus G. - guitars
Niklas Istfeldt - vocals
Peter Stålfors - bass
Snowy Shaw - drums

Dragonslayer (2002)
Evilized (2003)
The Book Of Heavy Metal (2004)
United (2006)
In The Night (2010)
Six (2017)

Gold Medal In Metal (DVD+2CD)(2007)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin SE

Added: December 2nd 2002
Reviewer: Stephanie Sollow
Artist website: www.dreamevil.se
Hits: 962
Language: english


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