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A Rather Unknown Doom Metal Gem - 95%

brocashelm, December 31st, 2008

The context of this demo is thus: having failed to spark a major following with their crushing JOURNEY INTO MYSTERY album, Dream Death made this demo tape of their latest material. They never got the chance to record it under that name, as the band soon fell apart. However drummer Mike Smail soon formed enduring doom metal institution Penance, and two of the cuts here ("A Wayfarer's Tale" and "The Unseen") made their way onto that band's debut album THE ROAD LESS TRAVELED. The versions here are appreciably more evolved than Dream Death's material, having a lot more going on in terms of flow and composition, although the Penance takes on them would be better still. The sorrow of the songs is very evident, whereas Dream Death's material was more frankly aggressive and horror oriented. Excellent sound on this studio demo is another plus, but this is, without reservation, one of the classics of US doom metal, a triumph from every angle. Essential listening, kids...I'm not kidding. This music is too excellent to be ignored.