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“Evilized” is the second album for the power/heavy combo Dream Evil. Now, after their solid debut “Dragonslayer,” I expected this to be a winner. However, that isn’t exactly the case.
“Break the Chains” and “By My Side” open the album and drag you into a somewhat positive void with well written choruses and catchy hooks. At this point you think the rest of the album will be extremely good. Then, “Fight You Till’ The End” begins playing, and those dreams run into the negative zone. Tracks like “Invisible,” “Bad Dreams,” and “Live a Lie” all leave that bad taste in your mouth known as boredom. These are the inevitable skip tracks. “Evilized” is a nice song with a slower tone and soaring vocals we know and love from Niklas Isfeldt. “Forevermore” is the ballad here, with some cool piano playing. It does drag it a bit which can make it hard to deal with, but I wouldn’t call it bad. “Children of the Night” is one catchy track with good riffs from Gus. G and Fredrik Nordstrom, who play well on the entire album. “Made of Metal” has anthem written all over it, for good reason. What’s not to like about song, the chorus is catchy, it’s funny, and it’s about metal. Go figure.
The production is good, and the line-up is the same as the debut, so it’s solid. “Evilized” is hurt by the lack of overall depth and the “dark” tone of the record itself. Sophomore slump? I’d say so, mainly because their debut was so good. Overall this isn’t a bad album. Many songs are enjoyable, but most of it just feels weak and unpolished. If you’re a Dream Evil fan, you’ll like this but it won’t be your favorite, if you’ve never heard Dream Evil, check out any other of their albums.
I've known about this band for a while, and have always been faced with a strange question, Are they a serious band or a joke band? I'd only head the title track of The Book of Heavy Metal, and Made of Metal from this release, and was constantly perplexed by the solid musical output, and the absurdly cheesy and over the top lyrics and vocal performance. So, after eventually settling on "Joke band" as my final decision, I pushed the band out of my mind. That was until recently, when I decided to show Made of Metal to a non-metal friend, assuming he'd get a kick out of it, which he did. But quite surprisingly, the next day he showed up with Evilized for me to listen to. So, a few days later, while bored, I decided to give this album a listen for a few good chuckles. To my surprise, I discovered that Dream Evil is a truly serious band, just a serious band that wants to have some fun sometimes too.
Dream Evil are a very streamlined band, they have their own little sound combining fairly simple Judas Priest/Hammerfall/(Insert fairly generic mid paced NWOBHM influenced power metal band here) worship with an assload of fun, and sadly, a large amount of accessibility too. There's nothing really wrong with being as accessible as they are, in fact I like the fact that they keep everything nicely in check so as to not risk being irritating, they’re just a little on the boring and predictable side after a few listens. They don't throw that many musical curveballs. Most of the songs are fairly midpaced, all of the songs have far too many choruses in them, all of the songs rely on a backbone of chuggier style power chord riffs, all of the songs are completely devoted to being catchy, with occasional bursts of shredding insanity, and all of the vocals are fairly big and powerful, but restrained so as to not annoy you, unlike the previously mentioned Hammerfall. Really, in some ways Evilized is a pretty average to poor album, because it is that redundant in comparison to many other bands, many of which don't make you worry that they're just pulling a big joke on you. But there is one thing on Dream Evil's side; This is about as fun as music gets.
Everything is guided towards being a giant sing-along, the over abundance of choruses as I mentioned earlier being a major characteristic in this, but most of the songs seem to based at throwing the brilliant vocals of Isfeldt at you, with a nice supplement of catchy gang vocal parts. The vocals, which don't have the huge falsetto wails of later albums, are basically the only thing that jumps out at you on Evilized, the music is just so streamlined and tightly arranged that it really just showcase the vocals more. The solos are successful in breaking the mould for a few seconds, but again, they are so precisely placed and arranged that they don't really go anywhere; they’re just a few seconds of high speed notes to get you pumped up again.
The lyrics are pure cheese and goofiness, the songs have simple melodies that are addictive, as are the vocal lines which are delivered in a mid range wail as good as you'll hear, and most of all, it just never seems to take itself too seriously, it's just purely based around being fun. But despite being as care free as it is, it doesn't drop off into levels of straight ahead comedy for the main part like later albums. There's the well known "I am his wiiiiife" part, but that’s it, the rest of this album is straight ahead metal tastiness delivered with a cheery party-like attitude.
The music isn’t particularly gripping or heavy, it’s just good simple metal riffs that'll get your head nodding and your mouth smiling, and that's all the band wants to do, which is really where the band suffers; Dream Evil far too comfortable and content with what they do. They have no urge to aim higher than what they do, so they just don't really cut it for focused or repeated listens. It's a fun listen for when you just want something to happily bounce along to.
As far as I’m concerned, Dream Evil is the most overrated band in the power metal genre. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are bad, they have an excellent line-up of top notch musicians, but the music they compose is very dry and predictable, not to mention lacking in the memory retention department. But if I had to pick one album that was really close to matching all the heraldry they receive, it would have to be this rather well organized and tightly arranged collection of 80s style power anthems.
“Evilized” takes the same road as the other albums under the Dream Evil banner, keeping it short and concise, but puts a greater deal of emphasis on trying to give each song the ability to stand alone. If you were to hear the title track or the spooky sounding “Bad Dreams”, you’d have little trouble separating them from the massive collection of generic Hammerfall and Metalium sounding power metal efforts that populate their other albums. Likewise, even the faster paced album opener “Break the Chains” and the two similarly paced songs that follow it give the much needed attention to the riffs and melodies that make the genre work.
Unlike the album that followed this one, Isfeldt doesn’t attempt any fancy vocal acrobatics, but sticks to singing something that sticks in your mind. Sure the banshee wailing heard in “The Book of Heavy Metal” is impressive sounding when it’s being heard, but it doesn’t shack up to the catchy, easily identifiable and triumphant chorus of “Children of the Night”, which still remains my favorite song by these guys to this day after 2 years of being exposed to them. Indeed, their greatest weakness is their greatest strength on here, as Isfeldt is what tends to carry most of this band’s stuff, proving that the parts are very often more than their sum.
Gus G’s guitar soloing is as subdued on here as it was on “Dragonslayer”, but it works better in this case because the songs are more tailored to the mainstream 80s sound exhibited by the Scorpions and Judas Priest, who are the two most active influences in their sound. I prefer Firewind to this project because I don’t believe in a guitarist of Gus’ caliber being restrained, but I must say that there are several points in the music on here where I can hear bits and pieces of “Burning Earth”, particularly the faster songs on here. For the best lead guitar work, look no further than the same song that has it won in every other category, “Children of the Night”.
If you have to own just one Dream Evil album, this would be the one to get. It lacks all of the comical, over-the-top nonsense that dragged down most of “The Book of Heavy Metal”, and it’s not quite as overt of a Hammerfall homage as their debut was. Although I’ve yet to hear “United”, I’d say with a good deal of confidence that this is the best thing that these guys have offered us. If you wonder what Judas Priest would sound like with Klaus Meine doing the vocals, this is pretty close to what it would likely sound like.
Average for 2 reviews is 97% on this album? What? Now, I like Dream Evil quite a lot, but the 90+ scores I give out are usually reserved for albums that break the mold and create something truly awesome, asskicking, or innovative, three categories which Dream Evil have not completely succeeded in over the past few years. Their music has been more fun then most bands of their ilk, and they've got a great group of musicians behind their name, yet they don't really exploit this to their full potential. They insist on making short and simplistic heavy metal anthems without much longevity or substance at all. I have no objection to writing songs like this, but dammit, can't Dream Evil at least pull off one gigantic epic to show off their songwriting skills? They certainly have the musical talent to make songs outside of their little mold, but they don't. I'm not asking for 70 minute prog wankery sessions, just for them to put their enormous level of musical talent to creating some sort of magnum opus of songwriting mastery, something that shows off every level of their guitar shredding and riffage combined with their acoustic passages, the powerful drumming of Snowy Shaw, and Isfeldt's amazing vocals. But they don't do this, insisting on staying firmly within their little rut of commerciality.
This album seriously pissed me off by the end of it's running length, and mostly because of the closer "The End", too. While that's not a bad song in the least, it's a ballad. And that says it all for those of you who are familiar with the band. Dream Evil's ballads are all interchangable with eachother. I know you hear that a lot about random other bands, but all of this band's ballads seriously sound EXACTLY the same, and none of them are that spectacular. This trend has continued throughout all four of their albums, believe it or not. It's actually the same thing with their fast songs, too, on this album, as none of them are that different from eachother. The whole thing is just so fucking generic that I took off about 5 points from the rating of this album. Everything is so pre-processed, so polished and run-of-the-mill that it makes you want to scream. Dream Evil have had this problem for a long time, but this album is by far the worst in that respect. The riffs are good and heavy, the choruses are perfect to shout along to, and the ballads are touching, but...it's all been done before! Even by Dream Evil themselves on their far superior debut album! And that's exactly what I hate the most---the ballads here sound the same as the ballads on the debut, and the faster songs here sound the same as the faster ones from the debut. It's like you could've just slapped this as a bonus disc onto that album and forgotten about releasing it as a full-length.
Another point of griping is that the lyrics SUCK. Their 2003 output 'The Book of Heavy Metal' had cheesy heavy metal worshipping lyrics that embarassed the more conservative fans of the genre, and those weren't nobel-prize winners, but the lyrics on this album take the cake for the worst lyrics I've ever heard from a metal band. I don't know what it is with this band in the lyrics department, but these lyrics are so juvenile, childish, and utterly banal. 'Evilized' as a whole album seems to have been meant to be a 'darker' album ala Helloween's 'The Dark Ride', but it failed miserably, as the lyrical storytelling presented in ''Bad Dreams'', especially, is more suited for children's campfire stories, if that. And "Invisible" seems to be some sort of 'oh, nobody pays attention to me' type bullshit. Absolutely pathetic. The lyrics of 'Made of Metal' are awful, too, but at least they make for a really funny song instead of trying to be evil and dark. I always claim I never pay attention to lyrics, but when I see something that insults everything good about English literature as much as the lyrics of these songs do, I have to put my foot down.
Now, aside from all that griping, this album doesn't suck at all. It's got a handful of really good Dream Evil songs, and some that instantly click. "Break the Chains" has some very aggressive borderline-thrash riffage and a killer chorus. "Children of the Night" is probably the catchiest song the band has ever done, and it's the only reason I'm a fan of the band today, as I heard it at random and was instantly enamored. "Invisible" has these cool rasping vocals in the chorus, and Dream Evil have never done this before, so it makes this one surprisingly original. Too short, but one of their best songs. "Bad Dreams" continues the trend of trying to sound more sinister, and it almost works (only ruined by it's terrible lyrics), as this song just barely misses the mark for sounding 'menacing.' And "Made of Metal" is the goofiest song the band has ever written, bar none. I mean, how many other bands are as shameless to include something like that 'I am metal and so is my wife / I am his wiiiiiife! / SHUT UP!' bit in a serious metal song? It's so stupid and deriative of the entire heavy metal genre, yet it's funny as hell and I love it.
This is definetly Dream Evil's weakest album. Probably due to the fact that it was released not even a year after the debut, and was basically riding on the success of that album. It's generic, the lyrics are dumb, yet it's still fun and catchy. If you want Dream Evil's entire discography, then go get this, you'll love it. It's not a bad album, but the band can do better. As they would prove on their next two albums. Only recommended to Dream Evil fanatics, as the debut is much better than this.
I'm a major fan of all of this band's work, but this album was much more hard hitting than Dragonslayer or The Book of Heavy Metal. In fact, if you put the songs Chasing The Dragon and Into The Moonlight onto this album... You might have one of the greatest metal albums ever. But, I digress. It's just odd, because Dream Evil is so very heavy for a power metal band. They may have cheesy lyrics, but you can headbang like crazy to this stuff. It's upbeat and fast paced mostly, and has blistering guitar solos and great vocals that are very unique. It also has some of the most fitting drumming ever, it flows so well with the music.
The album starts out heavy with a thrash like power metal song called Break The Chains. This is where we start to see the greatness of Dream Evil with amazing guitar harmonies coupled with keyboards. And Gus G lays down one amazing solo for this track (in fact, all his solos on this album and with this band are spot on).
After this you get By My Side and Fight You Til The End, which are amazingly heavy and the latter of which has a very tastefully done chorus. After that is the title track which starts out with an clean arpeggio intro that goes into a very slow paced yet heavy song, which is a nice change-up mid album.
Invisible and Bad Dreams are two more fast paced songs, then you get to Forevermore which starts out with this great piano intro that later has distorted guitars kick in over it. Then you get to Children of the Night, which is a standout track with an amazing intro solo and very well written lyrics.
Then you get Live a Lie, Fear the Night, and Made of Metal. Nothing standout about them, but the last one has the best guitar solo on the album and some really hilarious lines. Namely:
Vocalist: "I am so ****ing metal, and so is my wife."
Woman: "I am his wife."
Vocalist: "Shut up!"
Chorus: "MADE OF METAL"
It's just perfect, and very metal. These guys are the epitome of what metal is, to and through.
Then you get the clean arpeggio outro track The End. Then you get slow and sludgy power chords at a decent tempo to carry this song until it is over. A very good way to end the album. In fact, the album flows so well I almost wonder if it is a concept album. But regardless, if you want a place to start with Dream Evil, this is the CD to start with. It will launch you head first into the band. It contains flavors of both Dragonslayer and The Book of Heavy Metal, while maintaining its own unique feel.
Ok guys, are you ready for one Hell of a mix between Power Metal and Traditional Metal? because that's what this is. But then again, what can you expect from Dream Evil, who brought us the instant classic "Dragon Slayer?" I have a feeling that these guys are going to remain very consistant throughout their career.
What we have here is a beautiful mix of songs. There are a couple of fast songs thrown in between a larger number of faster tracks, ensuring that this album will not bore you. I find it very easy to listen to the entire CD in a single sitting. The guitar work is amzing. Gus may be a young guy (22 years old I believe), but he is one of the best guitar players I have ever heard. The solos that he performs will leave you gaping. The rythm guitar and bass hold the beats steady throughout the song, with no fuck-ups to be found... and they are excellent beats, I must say. Ya know, the kinds that will stick with you for a long time after you've turned off your stereo. The very clear recording also adds tot he effect. Snowy Shaw's drumming is simply stunning. I guess he's had enough practice after playing with Mercyful Fate, huh? He actually uses complex beats unlike some other drummers (like Jimmy DeGrasso, Megadeth's current drummer), to help spice up the song. Listening to his fills and short solos makes you wonder how a guy can move his arms about so fast, using such a small drumset! The vocalist fuckin' blew me away. He is definitely one of the best I've ever heard. For the quieter songs, he is able to make his voice nice and soft, and for the louder, faster songs, he can make it fittingly intense. The chorus parts in the songs are extremely catchy, and I garuntee that you will be humming them to yourself even days after you've listened to the CD. They will undoubtedly stick with you for a looong time.
Overall, this is just an awesome record. If you are a fan of the classics like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, or if you are into Blind Guardian and such, this is record is a must-have.