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(73:40; Layered Reality Productions)
TRACK LIST: 1. Chameleon 7:31 2. Surface Scratching 3:42 3. Happy Day 4:46 4. Dirge 4:50 5. Lovesong 4:33 6. Your Room 4:11 7. Aphrodisia 8:15 8. The More We Remember 22:36 9. New Strength 6:10 10. Anthem 7:06 LINEUP: Tom de Wit - vocals Lennert Kemper - vocals, guitars Norbert Veenbrink - guitars Radina Dimcheva - vocals Kenneth Martens - drums Vincent Reuling -synth Peter den Bakker - bass with: Cailyn Erlandsson - vocals
Prolusion. Dutch band DREAMWALKERS INC. can trace its roots back to 2003, when composer and musician Tom de Wit started to create material for his TDW project. Come 2016 and he saw the need to have a live band to perform his material, and this led to the formation of Dreamwalkers Inc. They released their debut album "First Re-Draft" in 2019, a remade version of the first TDW album unless I'm much mistaken, and this year they released the live album "A Night at the Theatre". As with their first album, this live CD was issued through Dutch label Layered Reality Production.
Analysis. Dreamwalkers Inc. define themselves as a progressive metal band that incorporate both symphonic elements and the legacy of 1970's progressive rock into their creations, hence apparently aiming to be a band that should suit fans of symphonic metal, progressive metal as well as progressive rock. The material on this album indicates that progressive metal is the main foundation of the band though, as is the case with the solo albums of TDW that at this stage is the material the band has at its disposal. They do have their own little take on the genre, opting to use a fairly broad palette of sounds in the creations as they are explored here. Typically we have the compositions that alternates between the more majestic, hard and intense on one hand and the passages that explore a softer and gentler part of the band's repertoire on the other. Dark, gravelly riffs with a majestic layered keyboard arrangement as well as more riff dominated excursions with a gentler guitar solo or keyboards overlay typical of the former, with more tranquil piano and vocals or keyboards and vocals driven sequences more representative of the latter. Electronic sounds are tossed in here and there for additional flavoring, we get nice amounts of male and female lead vocals and vocal harmonies along the way too, as well as occasional more intense and aggressive impact moments delivered by both vocalists and instrumentalists. The keyboards will often deliver and explore arrangements with more of a symphonic sheen to them, at least to a greater extent than in many other progressive metal bands. Overall, the work done on various keyboards is elegant throughout, and among the highlights of this live album. For my sake I didn't manage to be all that captivated by these songs as they came across in this live setting however. The mix and production is decent enough, and while not detrimental in any way this is a production that probably won't be deemed as a superior live production in this department. The one detail that was detrimental for me were the guitars though. One of the guitars had what struck me as an odd sound in several of the metal-oriented passages on this album, with qualities I'd describe as raw, primal and perhaps even gravelly. Which for me just didn't sound right in the greater context of the material that was explored. Due to this I found the more careful, progressive rock oriented songs on this album to be rather more interesting in general, while the metal oriented ones became a somewhat more challenging listen. This, as so much else in music, will obviously be a subjective matter: For others the use of a starkly contrasting element may well be described as one of the highlights of this live experience.
Conclusion. As this is the first live album by Dreamwalkers Inc., fans of the band and then also fans of Tom de Wit's TDW project will obviously have an interest in this production due to this one being the first. Otherwise I'd suggest that those with a general and equal affection for symphonic metal and progressive metal might want to lend an ear to this one. It's not a perfect live album as far as I'm concerned, but it is a well made and an honest production, and I also note that this one have received quite a few accolades from other writers in the field.
Progmessor: July 2020
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