Naildown – Dreamcrusher -3/5
Neo-classical solo’s? Check
Gutteral Vocals? Check
Catchy simplistic riffs? Check
Virtuoso Keyboards? Check.
Yes, I thought I had a Children of Bodom clone too at first, but I soon realised this wasn’t to be the case. Hell, this is the band Bodom wishes they were.
I am referencing here more what Bodom have become, rather than their earlier material, as this is the closest well known band I can use to describe their sound. But rather than try to emulate the sound, they’ve taken it and blended it with some hard rock. We hence get some slow melodic passages, and plenty of clean singing, but rather than sound like they’ve diluted their sound for mainstream popularity, it sounds natural. They never reach the same level of aggression, opting for a more atmospheric and emotional brand on the old style, and they do a decent job of it. (If anyone’s heard of the band ‘Engel,’ its not too dissimilar).
The vocals are largely clean, and to be honest not especially brilliant. He attempts soothing melodies, thrashy heavy metal style vocals, as well as guttural vocals, and there is a sign that he attempts emotion in all these area’s, so points for trying, even if he missed the mark. The guitars aren’t bogged down with playing quickly, and there is great variation in speed, both in riffs and solo’s, but a key improvement over Bodom’s newer work is the way the riffs are constructed. There is a constant harmony between the guitar and the keyboard, both working in unison, though one naturally dominates, the other playing something simpler for atmosphere. At times there is a bass laying a decent riff, over an atmospheric keyboard riff, and over all this is a guitar solo, all harmonised, working together to provide a sound that at no point sounds confusing or contrasting.
The album kicks off with “Dreamweaver” which is probably the most Bodom reminiscent, and one of the most aggressive points in the album. I like how they decided to kick the album off with a kick – it worked well – but as you continue to listen, the entire album gets slower in pace. This is by no means a bad thing, as around “Lame” or “P.I.B” they reach what I’d consider the perfect medium between power infused aggression and emotion. Which means yes, it continues to get softer, with “Like I’d Care,” which as you may have guessed sounds like a whiny teenager. “Deep Under the Stones,” continues along these lines, but has hit a certain level of emotion equating it somewhat to the ballad of the album. The last couple of tracks pick up the pace a bit, but are still nothing special.
Altogether, you could do a lot worse, and they do a number of things right. This is a band that still needs time to develop into their own sound, but the creativity, and variation in each track certainly shows that something more promising may be coming from them.
Highlights: Judgement Ride, Lame, P.I.B
By T. Bawden