Dream Evil - Dragonslayer
This is a band that was formed in the later part of 1999 and is told to be Sweden's new and ultimate force in Melodic Heavy Metal, and the lineup of the band sure is impressive: Fredrik Nordström (producer and owner of Studio Fredman+involved in Hammerfall, In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Spiritual Beggars and more), the greek guitarvirtous Gus G. (Mystic Prophecy, Firewind), Snowy Shaw (King Diamond, Mercyful Fate), Peter Stålfors (involved in Hammerfall), Niklas Isfeldt (also Hammerfall).
And this is indeed as solid, wellplayed, wellproduced as you could expect out of a band with this foundation, and also so "convinient" that it almost become to much. It took me a few listenings to get past that "oh well" feeling that I actually had in the beginning - I guess the expectations had been built too high on this album. It starts off with the catchy midtempo Chasing The Dragon which is standard heavy metal at it's best, but doesn't stand out. The follower In Flames You Burn turns up the speed a notch and serves us a killer refrain and brilliant riffs, and it's here the album kind of starts off. We are just enough warm in our trousers when Save Us starts with heavy, catchy riffs and a singalong chorus that sticks. The following 3 songs with the speed- and harmonyball The Prophecy on top is perfect examples of metal after the book of "80's metal with the sound of this millennium".
The album holds a consistant level of quality into the second half, and all the way 'til the end, with songs like The 7th Day, H.M.J to be mentioned more than the rest, and it all ends with the killer hymn Hail To The King with quite a bit of groovy Hammerfall riffs and an extremely catchy singalong chorus. Overall we get an equal dose of the very melodic, the fast paced, the epic and the slowtuned songs, and of course the ballad - here in the shape of Losing You. I keep coming back to the fact that it sounds quite a bit of Hammerfall over this, and then mainly when it comes to the riffs and choirs, which are powerful and are recognized from Nordström's arrangements with Hammerfall.
Personally I think it's a bit too much slow or midtempo tunes and a bit lack of those extra breathtaking riffs and licks on this cd to really justify calling it "the new metal sensation". It's very good metal - better than most today - but it lacks that little extra to get the really high points. This is a cd that, if made by Hammerfall today, would get a solid 9 pointer from me, cause this is in general better and more mature than anything Hammerfall released on their latest albums. But since this album has been haussed in the press prior to it's release, and is supposed to be something extraordinary, it just doesn't reach those kind of heights. The production, needless to say really, is absolutely flawless, and anything else would be strange since it's all done in Studio Fredman supervised by Fredrik Nordström himself.
To sum it up, this is a good metalalbum made from the standards with everything served pretty much like we expect it to be, which means that there are unfortunally not much room for those extra delicious riffs, twists and turns you might have hoped for. The band's label claim that Dream Evil "is armed and ready to take the world by storm with the debut", and that "this should become huge". It doesn't take me by storm, but it sure satisfy almost every bit of my metalneeds with a solid impression - but to become as huge as it is talked about, it requires some more riffs that stick and hooks and licks that sweep you away. Here you just find yourself very satisfied with good, recognizable metal, but let me point out that there's nothing wrong in that - I'm just stating a fact. This is absolutely an album that will be listened to for a long time to come at my place.