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Sometimes I feel myself bothered to hell and more often than not without the patience to listen to complicated music. Sometimes I just want a simple band and a simple album, something that doom normally does for me quite good, but given the lack of patience I sometimes find myself with, I tend to wander off to less heavy and more atmospheric music.
It's at points like these in time that I really enjoy putting stuff like The Gathering or Anathema (during their more relaxed periods) playing and just let go. One band and album that I often neglect is Ambeon's Fate Of A Dreamer, and I really don't know why since it's a really good album. Building on highly atmospheric soundscapes and keyboard driven passages, this album turns out to be the perfect soundtrack for relaxation.
It's been told countless times, Astrid was a young girl when she recorded this album alongside Mr. Lucassen and guests, maybe 13/14 years old. That by itself is already a major achievement, but putting out a performance as stunning as she does is something to write home about. She sings with the heart of an infant but with the tone of an experienced singer, never departing too much from her vocal range but always performing quite solidly. She sings in a very relaxed fashion, and in fact the whole music is bent on that feeling. That word keeps appearing again and again, relax.
To listen to this album is to forget how aggressive metal can be and embark on a journey through ambient, space/prog-rock compositions that bear little resemblance to metal, with the vocals sounding like the cries of a muse left alone at the end of the galaxy, sobbing to the stars in hope of finding someone. Everything fits in place so well and you get yourself immersed in such an atmosphere that's hard to get away. There's a great use of multitracking in the vocals making Astrid's voice sound like a wailing choir with its amount of echo. Given that this album has a heavily layered sound with a lot of keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars and a minimalistic drum work, I'd say that the multitracking on the voice only enhances the atmosphere here.
All tracks are able to keep your attention and there's hardly any filler here. The way the transitions are made from one song to another bring to mind other works by Mr. Lucassen, resembling conceptual works where each song is a part of a bigger equation. He also accomplished an amazing result with the production job of this album. You can hear everything fall in the right places, something that is easy to miss when the sound is as layered as here. Do you want highlights? Listen to the first couple of tracks and after that just travel through the stars, only to come back home with the end of the album.
I have to say that while listening to this album you can't expect a single shred of aggression because you won't find any. But if you do want some simple and emotional music put this on. This is one of the best atmospheric albums I own and at points touches the brilliance of a masterpiece such as Souvenirs. This is one of those one-timers that just stick with you, never failing to deliver. I was happy enough to have bought it ten years ago and still it doesn't fail to provide almost an hour of amazing beauty, peace and a big sense of inner calm. Clearly not for everyone but definitely worth a shot if you're seeking to evoke the kind of emotions I mentioned above, and especially recommended if you like Souvenirs.
While Evanescence I can hardly conisder a band, and Nightwish is nothing more than cheesey 80s metal on steroids with an obnoxious "opera" singer to boot. Ambeon is how you're SUPPOSED to utilize GOOD female vocals with a metal/ambient backdrop. Astrid van der Veen has one of the most beautiful ambient and powerful voices I've ever encountered.
The great this about this project is that it is yet another brain child of the multi talented Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon,Star One) who has an affinity for "space themed" metal, and this record "Fate Of Dreamer" certainly exudes a certain spacey quality to it. The music itself is by no means the most complicated, groundbreaking work I've ever heard, but on the other hand, technicality doesn't always mean a good record.
This particular album focuses more on creating a pleasant ambient soundscape, equipped with multiple effects minus the dreaded "cheese factor" with a dash of heavy metal. There are some really nice grooves created by the drummer and bassist on Fate Of A Dreamer, which is defenitley the strong point of this album. The guitars are more of an accent than a prominent element within the music. This is rather unusual for Arjen seeing as how he loves shredding on both guitar and the keyboard (which he is really really good at) on most of his projects. The metal aspect of this album is really a treat because it breaks the stereotype of all metal being this loud, non sensical noise and proves it can be crafted into a really relaxing and fulfilling entity, as far as music as a whole is concerned.
Two highlight tracks on this album would have to be both "Ashes" and "Cold Metal". Ashes being the more subdued track and Cold Metal being a bit heavier and even a little doom which is pretty cool. These two tracks best encompass what this album is all about as far as musical compositon is concern.
For the more open-minded metal heads in search of something more than an album with 10 or 12 tracks of blast beats and blood curdling screams, Ambeons' "Fate Of Dreamer" is a breath of fresh air within the whole ambient,groove, metal...umm, "scene". (God i HATE that word) Give it a listen and enjoy!