Dreamland - Exit 49 3.5/5

Reviewed: 10-9-09





Tracklist:

1. A touch of evil
2. Set the heavens on fire
3. The warning
4. So weak so feeble
5. The curse
6. Worlds apart
7. My sweet revenge
8. Exit 49
9. Nordic rage
10. Song for you
11. Shortest straw
12. Time to exhale


Swedish melodic power metal band, Dreamland has released their all important 3rd CD, entitled ‘Exit 49’. This new release follows previous efforts ‘Eye for an eye’ (2007) and ‘Future’s calling’ (2005). Both CDs were quite solid and received a decent amount of acclaim. Both releases were also produced by Hammerfall vocalist Joachim Cans and King Diamond guitarist Andy LaRocque.

Dreamland began their journey idolising the aforementioned power metal band, getting their name from the song “Dreamland” from Hammerfall’s ‘Legacy of kings’ CD. Playing their own blend of melodic power metal, but with an obvious Hammerfall influence, ‘Future’s calling’ was a splendid debut. The band moved away somewhat from the Hammerfall influence and found their own sound on the following CD ‘Eye for an eye’, becoming more aggressive overall; but yet still melodic. The sophomore release was a noticeable improvement from the debut and received many accolades from the metal world.

Between the time of the 2nd CD and this new one, there has been one line-up change within the band. Departing is Jesse Lindskog (ex-Nostradameus and now current Dragonland drummer), while arriving is the drummer known as Alexx. Aligned with a strong record label (Dockyard1), this has helped give Dreamland some much needed exposure with the previous 2 releases and again now with ‘Exit 49’; which has had a fairly quiet build up to my surprise. The 3rd release is often the most important in a band’s career as it usually signifies what sound and style best suits them and the direction the band has chosen to travel down.

The CD begins strongly with the mid-paced opener “A touch of evil”. With bombastic melodies and grinding guitars, the smooth sounding vocals of Joacim Lundberg (aka Jake E), makes the track a memorable one. From the beginning you can feel that the band has progressed further from their previous CDs, completely moving away from the once evident Hammerfall influence. Speedy aggression is found on the 2nd track “Set the heavens on fire”, however the song does not grab you as much as the wonderful opening track. After the 3rd track “The warning”, which is much like the first with chugging guitars and strong vocals from Jake E; I could hear similarities of Dreamland’s sound to be like a cross between Sweden power/progressive metal band Evergrey (minus the prog element) and Germany’s power metal group Brainstorm.

Moving further into the CD, the level of quality dips a little and it seems that despite the band progressing into the sound they are striving for, there are still some areas of their music which haven’t really been completely refined. All is not lost, however, as the CD does have some more memorable moments, with the tracks “The curse” (quick, heavy and melodic), “Exit 49” (aggressive and emotional vocals, crunching guitars) and “Shortest straw” (screamo aggressive vocals, without doubt the heaviest track on the CD). Honourable mention should be given to the 2 ballads on the CD, “Worlds apart” and “Song for you”, which are quite good musically but all credit should be given to Jake E, who sings sensationally well on both tracks. In fact, ‘Exit 49’ is easily Jake’s best effort vocally, and he has come along in leaps and bounds since their debut CD.

Overall ‘Exit 49’ is quite good, filled with some great melodic metal songs, but I can’t help but think that Dreamland really could have made this CD a whole lot better. Songwriting is an area that needs a bit of tweaking, while the guitar work was a little repetitive, typical and safe. Still, with that being said, the CD is enjoyable and it is arguably their best release of the 3; however marginally. Fans of melodic power/metal and also fans of Dreamland from their previous work should find ‘Exit 49’ to be a definite worthy addition to their collection.



SEAN




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