|Review: Dreamland - Exit 49|
Label: Dockyard 1
Year released: 2009
Genre: Power Metal
Review online: January 8, 2010
Reviewed by: Christopher Foley
Rated 4.2/5 (84%) (5 Votes)
First things first, gay album title and the cover looks like the band just took a picture of a road – it's like Pearl Jam's Yield album cover, say no more. While I'm at it I'll get the negatives out of the way. The two ballads "Worlds Apart" and "Song for You" are flat out lame, skip these ASAP. "Time to Exhale" is a pretty lame album closer and really feels like an afterthought; if you're into the In Flames acoustic pieces this might float your boat. That's almost 10 minutes of this album's 44 minute play time that suck. Fortunately everything else is good, really good actually. I never bothered with the second Dreamland album as Future's Calling really did it for me. Chance had it in store that I'd hear Exit 49 and I must admit I'm pleased.
4-5 years have passed since Future's Calling, and it's good to see things haven't changed too much. Except instead of the big Hammerfall comparisons Dreamland sound a lot more like Nocturnal Rites crossed with Crimes of Passion. The good news is the recipe works very well, and of course the bad news is that nothing much can be done about the ballads (skip, skip, skip). The first four tracks are by far the strongest and dwarf pretty much anything from Future's Calling (I'm noticing something familiar, maybe these guys really still do want to be Hammerfall). "With a Touch of Evil" slightly reminds me of Evergrey which is like Christmas come again for me, good by association really. "Set The Heavens on Fire" is one of the best Power Metal songs of 2009 – whilst nothing new is on offer this features pretty much every convention in the genre, highly melodic chorus, fast double kicking, guitar harmonies, and some great lead guitar work – which is something that needs to be addressed. I don't know what happened in the last few years but these guys have surely been putting in the practice. Guitarists Eric Rauti and Johan Eriksson truly dazzle here, both wielding technical and melodic brilliance. "The Warning" is ridiculously catchy; in fact this album as a whole is damn catchy and boasting more hooks than a pirate ship.
The rest of the album keeps with this standard, but never reaches the heights of the first four tracks, although fans of Power Metal and melodic metal in general really won't be disappointed. It's clear as day that Dreamland won't change anyone's opinion on the music, but for those of us that like it there's a lot of fun to be had here. Recommended.
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