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Dream Evil is one of those bands that I can’t help but like, yet simultaneously be baffled at in terms of their appeal. There isn’t really much going on here that can’t also be heard on early Hammerfall, Black Majesty, Mob Rules, and The Storyteller; all of whom I would consider better bands. Vocalist Niklas Isfeldt does have the edge over Klaus Dirks and Joacim Cans in the power department, but other than that and Gus G. providing some exceptional soloing, they aren’t the greatest thing to happen to power metal.
Although overrated, Dream Evil has had some brilliant moments, and a good deal of it is found on this EP. The best comparison I can make in terms of recent albums would be Hammerfall’s “Legacy of Kings”, which was also a heavy influence on the somewhat overdone “Book of Heavy Metal” that came soon after this. The songs avoid the hyper speed fury of Rhapsody and Gamma Ray, and stick mostly to conventional structures with a large emphasis on choruses, something not unique to this band and their basic style, but differing in levels of emphasis.
The EP’s title track “Children of the Night” is my favorite song by this band. It sounds like a heavier version of the Scorpions classic “Big City Nights” (great song), the lyrics are a cheesy variation on Dio’s poetic approach, but once you’ve heard it you can not forget it no matter how hard you try. “Dragonheart” is a mid-grade speed metal track that probably was a b-side from their debut album, where they sounded the most like a Hammerfall clone. “Betrayed” is a slower heavier number, but still listens somewhat lightly with Niklas’ vocals still invoking the spirit of Klaus Meine. The acoustic version of “Evilized” is vocally exposed, which works well for this outfit, and almost reminds me of Dio’s “My Eyes”, but without the electric guitar sections.
If you have to pick up a single release by this band but want to avoid the price of an LP, or you want to spend a little money to find out what you’d be in for with this outfit, this is the album to get. It is a perfectly happy medium between the dragons and magic of their debut and the dark imagery of their follow-up “Evilized”. If you want to skip ahead and get an LP, “Evilized” is the first to get, but I’d still recommend this one because the 2 unreleased songs are definite keepers.