Not a particularly groundbreaking album, but a solid release for what it is.
“I've got the world in front of me”, roars frontman Marcel Gadacz a few minutes into 'Loveless', the second album from Australian post-hardcore/metalcore act Dream On Dreamer. Considering the band have spent the past two years touring the globe off the back of debut 2011 LP 'Heartbound', it'd be tough to dispute the quintet have kept pretty busy. Despite the hectic touring schedule, the group have had time to write a fairly solid sophomore record.
What the album demonstrates, plainly, is that Dream On Dreamer are pretty damn good at writing this kind of stuff – albeit not particularly imaginatively. The heavier guitar lines pack the sort of intensity you'd expect from a modern metalcore release, but the band still play around with their fair share of intricate, clean parts. It's certainly not an incredibly varied listen, but it's diverse enough to avoid being monotonous. What's more, taking into account that the band have gone through several lineup shuffles since the release of 'Heartbound', it's to their credit that they sound as tight together as they do.
However, it should be made clear, what becomes apparent pretty quickly is that 'Loveless' isn't pushing a whole lot of boundaries. In their defense, the band do attempt to make a clear juxtaposition between aggression and melody, and for bands playing this genre it's always going to be an uphill struggle to craft something that feels wholly unique. Re-inventing the wheel within this brand of hardcore is simply a rare occurrence – but, assuming you're a fan of this style, you're probably aware of that and, frankly, quite all right with it. That said, there are some standouts. 'Hear Me Out' and 'Neverlove' are fairly expansive, versatile pieces, while 'The World in Front of Me' and 'Evol' are visceral, desperate outbursts, pairing Gadacz' aggression with new clean vocalist Zachary Britt's hopeful and particularly youthful croon. At six minutes, album closer 'The Tracks We Leave' is the longest and probably the most captivating on the album, exploring a few different avenues of sound.
In terms of the actual sound itself, 'Loveless' is great. Produced and mixed in-house by the band's guitarist Callan Orr, the album sounds savage when its required, delicate and borderline-ethereal in quieter moments.
'Loveless' is a fine follow-up to its predecessor, engaging enough that fans of the band and the general style of music they play will likely find it an engaging listen. There's a fair bit going on - not all of it particularly ambitious. They're no visionaries, but there's something to be said for a band with a solid understanding of their identity, a knowledge of what they're best at, and a conscious effort to play to their strengths.
2. The World in Front of Me
5. Hear Me Out
7. Moving On Moving Far
9. Black Maine
10. The Tracks We Leave Behind