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This album, 'The Dreams You Dread', is not Benediction's demo reissued, but the band's 4th studio album from over a decade ago. When it was released, it was by and large bashed. Some of you might remember the video for 'Down on Whores (Leave Them All for Dead)' spinning on MTV's Headbanger's Ball, being almost the sole death metal clip doing rounds at time.
'The Dreams You Dread' is very mid-tempo cenotaph of chugging death metal. Basically, this is very old school, basic death metal with nice toppings. Generally, riffs are good and are colored with acoustic and non-distorted playing. And talking about atmosphere, horror melodies (think of Entombed's two first albums) are abound here. Bass guitar is used more than just as the usual "backbeat" instrument. Drumming of new boy Neil Hutton is embellished with little tricks. At times the band accelerate into faster speeds, which is vitally important for this album, but still can't save it from some a tad boring moments on the way. Anyways, most of the songs are very memorable.
Groove is another positive segment, making this "gotta-headbang-to-this-
fucker" kind of album. The production is very clean and nicely balanced, but still heavy and above all, organic. Despite the medium speed, the energy flows well in the music. At least between instrumentalists. I simply do not like too much about Dave Ingram's vocals, which are raw, but simply quite annoying and not diverse. He sounds like less brutal Barney Greenaway (of Napalm Death, also on the first Benediction album). Lyrics include some rather interesting topics. One of them is 'Down on Whores (Leave Them All for Dead)', which text is a collage of quotes from James Maybrick's (probably a.k.a. Jack The Ripper) diary. The other ones are the usual madness, war and death (just what do you expect from a death metal album, eh???).
Death's Chuck Schuldiner took the band on tour, saying that there was no better band to tour with than Benediction, and was his only possible choice for the support act. 'The Dreams You Dread' isn't that good an album, but it has aged more than well and if you opt for groovy, bulldozing death metal, you could do much, much worse than pick this fucker up.
(originally reviewed for ArchaicMetallurgy.com in 2006)