REVIEW: DREAM EVIL – “Six”
Dream Evil have always been a love it or hate it band. While the more humorous fella might overlook the silliness of the lyrics (and the complete lack of effort to right good ones, for that matter) and just enjoy the music itself, those who seek depth, meaningful content and something more than just melody stray away from the Swedish warriors like vampires run from a cross.
Despite once being sort of a supergroup when the Greek prodigy Gus G. (Firewind, Ozzy, ex-Mystic Prophecy) and the multi-faceted Snowy Shaw (Notre Dame, Dener/Shermann, ex-King Diamond), now they lurk the scene in search for a place in the sun. With 5 albums on their luggage and after a 7-year hiatus since their last output, Pete Pain (Peter Stålfors, bass), Ritchie Rainbow (Fredrik Nordström, guitars, keyboards), Nick Night (Niklas Isfeldt, vocals), Mark Black (Markus Fristedt, guitar) and Pat Power (Patrik Jerksten, drums) are back with their ludicrous brand of heavy/power metal in the vein of the many European bands out there.
By now you have at least heard about the infamous Dream Evil, so I’ll tell you right away that ‘Six’ is exactly what you can expect from the Swedish quintet: chugging riffs, catchy and cheesy choruses and preposterous lyrics. “Dream Evil” (I’m surprised that they never used the band name for a song before) opens the album in a mid-pace manner with heavy leads and blasting drums, almost like a call for war. The chorus features some Hammerfall-ish choirs and keeps up with the song atmosphere by being headbanging-friendly; good song.
Follow-up “Antidote” is your run-of-the-mill Euro-power song, with trendy lines, fast double-pedal drums and some cool riffing by Nordström, all while abusing of those characteristic catchy choirs. The best part of the album is closed by “Sin City”, which is actually pretty awesome. Replete with groove and feeling – but deprived of any sort of inspiration in the lyrics -, this song shows that these guys know perfectly well how to create appealing and attractive music. The mid-tempo leads and the killer chorus should be replicated by these guys whenever possible.
Sadly, that’s where the cool bits of the album end. True, the ballad “Creature of the Night” and “44 Riders” have good quality and can offer you some spins, but the rest of the songs feel uninspired – when not entirely comical, like “Six Hundred and 66”, for instance – and could be better enjoyed as background music. Fillers like “Hellride”, “Broken Wings” and the attempted anthem turned into a flat track “We Are Forever” should have been left off the album altogether, while “The Murder Mind” shows the band trying to be heavy and badass at first, but suddenly changes into a radio-friendly snoozefest.
Two other tunes can be salvaged in the mid and last portion of the album: “How to Start a War” is fun and can bang some heads, with Niklas Isfeldt changing a little bit of his nasal voice and reminding us of Andi Deris (Helloween) and a very cool solo full of distortions, while “Too Loud” could easily be featured on a Primal Fear album; the song has a very unique guitar timbre and that rock ‘n’ roll-meets-heavy metal atmosphere all over it. The execution, however, is top-notch; Nordström is a master of his craft and transitions from heavy leads to groovy ones with ease, the kitchen provides good support and Isfeldt sings very, very well with his already consolidated Nils K. Rue-like (Pagan’s Mind) screams.
To sum it up, this is yet again an effort stacked with cool instrumental parts and catchy passages but childish lyrics and goofy presentation, which is becoming Dream Evil’s trademark. Really, my niece could write better lyrics for those dudes, and she’s 12 and doesn’t know a single word in English. This particular problem, along with the fact that there are just too many fillers and mediocre songs here, hurts the final product considerably. I can’t help but to think that if Dream Evil released only three or four songs in ‘Six’ as an EP (“Dream Evil”, “Antidote”, “Sin City” and “Too Loud”), this would have been a stellar effort, worthy of a great score. However, you get 12 songs wrapped in almost 52 minutes, which gets tiresome and annoying really fast.
If you are mad about these guys and follow them since their inception, then by all means go buy this, because it is exactly what you’d expect; but if you like your doses of power metal with more punch, fierceness and with lyrics that don’t sound like they’ve been written by a person who needs to be at home at 9pm because it’s a school night, you’ll need to look elsewhere.