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Dream Evil is one of my favorite power metal bands, for some reason. A guilty pleasure, if you will. Their combination of catchy, powerful vocals of Niklas Isfeldt with heavy rock riffs, great drumming courtesy of Snowy Shaw of Mercyful Fate fame, and a full, modern sounding production that actually doesn't bother me too much here just...works for me. Dream Evil is the product of producer/bassist Frederik Nordstrom and (now ex-)guitarist Gus G, and this was their third outing. It gets shit on a lot for being too blatant, childish, and overly cheesy, and maybe it is all of those things. But I like this for the same reason I enjoy Edguy's 'Rocket Ride'---the fact that it is more fun then a fucking barrelfull of monkeys. Dream Evil may have outmatched the Metal Gods Manowar in terms of cheesiness and bluntness, but I like it anyway.
On this album, they took a new direction to their sound, going for a much more 'party-metal' oriented approach, and with about four songs out of the crop being dedicated to the greatness of metal/rock music. The songs are mostly midpaced with very heavy riffs for a power metal band (I take it that this is due to Snowy Shaw handling so much of the songwriting, as this is different from the other three albums they have), and all the instruments are played very well. Gus G.'s guitar shredding is amazing as usual, but here the riffs are much more rock-oriented, feeling slightly 'drier' then on previous releases. The choruses are arena rock fare, and they're quite a lot of fun, different from what I usually listen to at least. Some fans of more serious metal will be utterly repulsed by this goofy monkeying around, and it does have quite a lot in common with 80s hard rock, but if you just want a good time, then you should be able to listen to this without complaints or grievances.
The CD is pretty inconsistant, and that's what I don't like about it. We have some total killers like the title track with it's monstrous riffs and fun, singalong chorus, and the very solid and midpaced "Into the Moonlight." We then dip into mediocrity with "The Sledge", and then we get another good one with "No Way", which still isn't even THAT spectacular. We come up for a breath of air with the best fucking song the band has done to date, "Crusader's Anthem", a fantastic midpaced melodic number with a stomping, hypnotic chorus and some great somber guitar lines. It's also the most serious song, lyrically, they've ever done, and I wish they tried this more often. Alas, most of their songs have this really joke-y vibe, such as the next one, "Let's Make Rock", which is surprisingly my second favorite song here. It's cheesy, with extremely stupid lyrics, and it's remniscent of the dark side of 80s glam metal, but it's catchy and full of this...attitude, that I've come to love about Dream Evil's music. It's hard to explain in words, but these songs are just so damn full of themselves and so completely arrogant that you can't help but grin on hearing them. "Unbreakable Chain" is a good ballad, maybe a slight step above the rest of the ballads Dream Evil puts out.
We then descend into more filler-ish stuff with "M.O.M.", "Only For the Night", and "Chosen Twice" (a ripoff of "The Chosen Ones" from the debut, just weaker). "Tired" is pretty good, but it's not the best the band can do. While "The Mirror" isn't great, it's got a cool chorus and some surprisingly good lyrics (well, for this band at least). So, that's the real problem with this album...the songs are catchy and fun, but nondescript. Every Dream Evil album has been like that, with a few great tracks and then a bunch of fillers, but this album is by far the worst example and the least consistant to date. They could've done much better, really, as I don't see the point in having so many lackluster fillers on every damn album these guys put out. Try harder, please.
I like this album, though, as overall it's quite a fun listen. It might not be serious and it may not have philosophical, thought provoking lyrics, and maybe it's not kvlt and underground, but Dream Evil is the band I turn to when I want an easy listen, something that gets my head banging, my fist pumping, and puts a grin on my face. This album may be inconsistent, but I can overlook that, as it also has some of the band's strongest material. Highly recommended to Dream Evil fans and to those who can take a joke.