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There’s a general formula to the whole single releasing process. First you release the song that everyone will remember no matter how hard they try not to (“Take What The Heavens Create”), then you follow up with a song that is a little more involved, but still up to the task of sticking in the listener’s mind. Granted, the entire 4th Dreamtale album “Phoenix” was one long stream of potential single releases (in contrast to previous albums), but “Payback” is the next logical choice, particularly given that it’s slower and largely rock based.
While some might point to a comparable tendency with Rammstein on this song due to the techno-like groove going on in the guitars and the spacey keyboard effects drenched on the principle melody line, this isn’t terribly out of character for a power metal band, though it is slightly oversimplified for Dreamtale’s past works. The sound of the guitars is generally heavy and muddy, though also somewhat processed and computer like, conforming to the industrial tendencies implied by the keyboards surrounding it.
Perhaps the biggest leg up that this song has over most of the other content heard on “Phoenix” is that the lyrics are pretty involved. They tell the story of a man who was unsuccessfully killed in a hit, though someone very close to him was actually killed, and now is on a plot for revenge. Cliché tales of revenge aside, the mixture of dreariness in the droning melody line and the angry attitude of Erkki’s vocals mesh together perfectly.
All things considered, this is a pretty decent representation of what was a step down, but still largely solid album. Rami Keranen has led a band here that has had about as many lineup changes and rotating members as possible in a decade of existence, and he’s always managed to keep the band relatively consistent in their overall sound. Don’t expect brilliance or epic grandeur here, but expect a good song in spite of that.