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One thing I will definitely concede to this band, they picked a great album to name themselves after. Although one might expect this to listen like a Dio tribute band, the actual sound that Dream Evil puts forward is sort of a hybrid of “Screaming for Vengeance/Defenders of the Faith” era Judas Priest; early 80s Scorpions, and a strong helping of Saxon and Manowar worship. Niklas Isfeldt’s vocals are mostly a dead ringer for Klaus Meine, although he seems pretty capable of doing some Halford style acrobatics and can dirty his voice up more effectively than Joacim Cans, to whom he is often compared.
“The Book of Heavy Metal” was clearly the most hyped of their offerings, as it was difficult for me to visit any metal oriented website that gave credence to their genre that didn’t feature rave reviews of it. Suffice to say, if you are lactose intolerant, I’d suggest loading up on extra Pepto Bismol if you plan on giving this a try. Between the Metalium style metal worshipping lyrics and Gus G’s somewhat cliché rock riffs, you’ll either run in fear of having your manhood questioned by the elites, or become indoctrinated and party like it’s 1985.
The songs themselves are definitely catchy enough to have staying power, but I’ve heard this style done better 5 or more years before by equally competent acts, most particularly Axel Rudi Pell and Dungeon. If I had to pick the most worthwhile sing along anthems from this collection I’d go with “Into the Moonlight” and “Crusader’s Anthem”, the latter of which has that classic Heaven and Hell/Holy Diver rhythmic groove that consistently works and is almost impossible to screw up. Isfeldt’s vocals and a solid production carry most of weight on these and most of the rest of the music, and although Gus G takes a more restrained soloing approach than his work with Firewind he also gives a little extra punch to what would ordinarily be pretty generic cheese.
Some other songs are quite blatant tributes to other bands in both sound and subject matter. The title track is loaded with Judas Priest worship, perhaps a bit heavier than anything that exists in Priest’s Halford catalog, but the vocal work is clearly Painkiller inspired. Likewise, “Chosen Twice” sounds like one of those bombastic guitar harmony driven numbers the Scorpions were known for, while the closing ballad “Unbreakable Chain” can’t help but sound very similar to “Still Loving You”. I can’t fully knock them for their choices in influences, but sometimes these guys lose their own identity between their various chosen idols.
All in all, you can’t really go wrong with a band like this if you want a well packaged power metal sound with no apologies. Personally I’d check out Firewind for something a bit more exciting, more vocally and musically original and less concerned with paying lyrical homage to their genre. And if you still have room in your budget after checking them out, you’ll probably want to look into their first two releases, which present a good deal less pomp and a bit more intricacy in the riff and songwriting department.