Recorded, mixed and mastered by Danish Grammy Award nominated producer Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Amaranthe), who also worked on the bands previous album “The Gift Of Life”, Swiss Metallers Dreamshade are preparing to break down the walls between Metal sub-genres with “A Pale Blue Dot“. Formed in Lugano, Switzerland in 2012, Kevin Calì (Vocals), Fernando ‘Fella’ Di Cicco (Guitars, Vocals), Gian-Andrea ‘Gian’ Costa (Bass, keyboards, programming), Luca Magri (Guitars, programming) and Francesco ‘Fry’ Ferrini (Drums) have cut their own path through the Urban Jungle with a blend of melody, heaviness and uplifting lyrics, so as they approach a decade together, this album marks something of a milestone moment. Just remember, like your mother said, never judge a book by it’s cover or a band by their appearance. Looks can be deceiving.
Opening cut “Safe Harbour” is a Melodic Death Metal cut inspired by Gothenburg Sound acts like Dark Tranquillity that ignites the fires which inspired the Metalcore sound with rich synths and constant leads creating a high energy incendiary output. Lyrics about feeling safe when putting a record on will no doubt resonate with anyone who has done so to escape dark times and just wants to shut out the outside World for a few minutes. “Lightbringers” continues in the same vein acting as a reminder that you’re not alone and Kevin Calì showing off some mid-range uncleans against some cleaner vocals while the guitars and synths provide that bounce for the mosh pit. 2019 single “Question Everything” doesn’t sound out of place even when brings a solo of progressive leanings thanks to having an ocean of sing-a-long lyrics and a seriously infectious melodic hook that bands like Siamese would be proud to call their own.
“Stone Cold Digital” finds Italian singer Rose Villain joining the party while flipping the scripts to a rap-scream driven vocal that rages about the digital age of social media and mobile phone addiction. Fortunately it doesn’t loose any of the high tempo, high energy, caffeine loaded musical approach so if those lyrics don’t mean that much to you the music still carries the flow of the record very well. There is a loose concept to the album which is a distant look at Humanity and our planet as a whole which asks if we, as a race really appreciate what we have on Earth. While it is present, it doesn’t really surface properly until “Impulse” with “toD-eulB-elaP-(A)” serving as an interlude to really push that theme with a speech sample against some ambient synths. There are a few melodic breaks at the material unfolds and these add a lush rich texture to the bands songs, giving them a depth that crosses sub-genres and a fresh perspective. Probably the heaviest track on the album is “Elephant” which addresses an “Elephant in the room” as the saying goes with a whirlwind of razor sharp riffs during the chorus and a funky bass driven backing to the verse before a vibrant solo that lifts everything towards the sky so that while it’s lyrically dark clouds, musically it breaks through them with bright sunshine. There is a formula to some of the songs that is well masked but obvious on cuts like “Somewhere Else“, which has a rich sing-a-long Pop choruses like Issues while adding elements to divert your attention from that with little samples, nuances and tempo shifts. Those help give the record longevity because their high velocity approach to everything means that there isn’t opportunity to hear everything as the album plays out.
How Dreamshade managed to get Darkest Hour vocalist John Henry on board for “Nothing But The Truth” remains something of a mystery but it is a stand out moment during, a rampaging Melodic Death Metal cut with an In Flames inspired synth pattern and a galloping Metalcore bridge. What the band manage to do here is really interesting as they blend the styles seamlessly so as to not lose the essence of what they’re creating by bringing in the guest. The song was recorded on the road in February 2020, when Dreamshade guitarist Fella was filling in on Darkest Hour’s 25th Anniversary Tour, although you would never know it by listening. The bold chorus is an arena filler with the cleans backed by some brutal harsh vocals to inject adamantium into the skeleton framework. The Linkin Park inspired rap-metal parts of “A Place We Called Home” is the last thing you might expect on a diverse and brave Pop-Metal record but it has a Nu-Metal nostalgic charm to it that appeals over multiple listens, before “Save This” creates the finale that the record deserves [7.5/10]
Stone Cold Digital (ft. Rose Villain)
On My Own
Nothing But The Truth (ft. John Henry of Darkest Hour)