For Fans Of
A little over a year ago, local Melbourne band Dream On, Dreamer released their debut EP Hope, and it was welcomed by a chorus of kids who were quickly losing faith in the generic world that had become the local metal scene.
Now they are back in 2011, with their debut full length Heartbound. Record labels the world over were expecting great things from Dream On, Dreamer, inking deals with UNFD in Australia, Rise Records in the USA, UK and Europe and Triple Vision in Japan. So did the album hit the mark?
Overall, it would be simple to throw Heartbound into the generic metalcore album basket, along with many of its Rise Records predecessors. The album is full of deep growls, crisp clean vocals, chugging guitars, breakdowns, a little keyboard here and there, and a whole lot of technical production for good measure. But this album is a whole lot more than just that.
The album opens with a short introduction titled “I”. In a little over 40 seconds the entire album is summed up beautifully. Ambient keys mixed with heavy guitar and drum lines, layered over by melodic guitar lines. It feeds into opening track, “Yourself As Someone Else”. From the get go it is obvious that Heartbound is a lot heavier than the band’s previous EP. Dream On, Dreamer have gotten a lot more technical in their instrumentation, mix that with vocalist Marcel Gadacz’s deep screams and bassist Michael McLeod’s crisp cleans and you have a track that hits you in the face right away. In the best way possible of course. Next track, “Downfall” is not only the heaviest track on the album, but the heaviest Dream On, Dreamer track to date. At some points it sounds like the band are trying to do too much at the one time, however it is a track that will translate well live. “For What You Believe In” opens with ambient keys, soft instruments and clean vocals. It is clear that the band also sound great in this setting. Gadacz’s screams break the mood and cue heavy instruments. This song is a great juxtaposition of the band’s opposing sounds. Dream On, Dreamer follow the typical metalcore formula well but have adapted it to suit their band and have managed to make it their own. The last two tracks, “Come Home True Love” and “Lifestream” are a great way to round out the debut album. “Lifestream” again showcases the two extremes of the Dream On, Dreamer sound and how comfortably they intertwine with each other.
Is the album listenable? Yes. Enjoyable? Yes. Is it memorable? Well who really knows? At times it feels as if Dream On, Dreamer are trying to be too technical too often. In a bid to stand out from an over-populated crowd they, at times, over layer their sound by trying to make it too big. At times both Gadacz’s and McLeod’s vocals seem lost, and it is difficult for any one instrument to stand out. This makes certain moments seem claustrophobic and unnecessarily chaotic. In the moments when the band cut back their sound it works in their favour as it is easier to hear that the band have in fact improved both technically and lyrically. In these moments it is clear that Dream On, Dreamer are a band that sound a lot better than their short career should allow them.
For a band that is still quite young and new to the scene, they have mastered their craft quite well. Their sound is tight and well produced, their songs are well written and they have figured out the trick to balancing between deep screams and smooth clean vocals. Sadly, as many metalcore bands do, they have managed to fall into some of the generic traps, but their debut full length does promise great things. Dream On, Dreamer are a band that should make anyone proud to be a part of the Melbourne music scene, and proves that there is definitely still hope in local music.
2. Yourself as Someone Else
4. A Path Of Its Own
5. For What You Believe In
6. Taking Chances, Breaking Free
8. To The Lost [Feat. Matthew Wright from The Getaway Plan]
9. Come Home True Love