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Dream Evil got a good deal of heraldry with the release of the album that followed this single, and a good amount of it came from non-power metal fans. At first I was at a loss for why people who normally listen to death metal, black metal, traditional metal, and melodeath all thought highly of this while there has been a mixed reaction from most I know who are core-power metal fans. But as I listened to this single a few months earlier, as well as the LP that it came before, I began to understand why this was.
Although a fairly solid power metal band from their inception, Dream Evil is essentially a quasi-caricature of what most non-power metal fans view the genre as, unoriginal 80s cheese with little accounting for variation. The same way that this applies to their first two albums could also be attributed to Hammerfall, Metalium, Saxon, and even those who carry it the best such as Manowar and Lost Horizon. However, the famed “The Book of Heavy Metal” release lyrically and musically exaggerates this so much that it becomes a joke. When someone says that they don’t care for power metal but that they like Dream Evil (particularly this album), what they are saying is that they view the entire power metal genre as a joke and that that album is the greatest and most listenable culmination of that joke, which I personally take offense to.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that I believe Gus. G and company intentionally put out an album that would sell big and simultaneously self-satirize what I see as a great music genre. Like everyone else who plays power metal; they're in it because its fun, it’s a challenging style to master, and you don’t have to do something stupid or illegal in order to make the scene. It puts a greater emphasis on melody and something that can be recalled, unlike extreme genres which mostly tend to leave impressions and are easily forgotten due to needless complexity or toneless noise.
The title track of this single, which is also that of the LP that has been so popular, has been chopped up a good deal and listens extremely short even for a radio single. Yet they still managed to keep that ridiculous narration that makes Metalium’s spoken intros to their work sound like Dylan Thomas, to speak nothing for the comical and utterly ridiculous lyrics in the rest of the song. The vocal delivery is pretty solid Halford worship, but aside from that and a few well placed lead fills, this whole thing just oozes stale cheese, from one cliché riff to the next.
“Tired” is another radio friendly track from the LP in question. Picture a heavier and more modern sounding homage to “Love at First Sting” era Scorpions, only a little bit more redundant and completely unoriginal. Gus G’s solo is way too controlled and constrained, which works against his style, a flaw that can be easily recognized when compared with the climactic nature of his lead work on Firewind’s first 3 albums. The non-album track “Point of No Return” almost sounds like a complete knock-off version of Maiden’s “22 Acacia Avenue”, no doubt adding to the implication by fans of this album that power metal is overtly derivative.
Do I hate this band? No, they’re pretty good at what they do. I do, however, resent the claim that this band is the greatest representation of power metal, because that is about as far off base as saying that Metallica is the greatest and only representation of thrash metal worth listening to. If you like your power metal re-processed and cheesy, or if you hate power metal and want to make a statement about how you think that this is the best of what it’s capable of (which is an utter lie), then go ahead and pick up this single. If you like Dream Evil because you like the genre and they play a decent version of it, just pick up “The Book of Heavy Metal”, because there is some good stuff on there, but it is not the end all be all of the genre, either as it was 5 years ago, or as it is today.