Dreadnought – A Wake in Sacred Waves (Sailor Records)

Wednesday, 27th September 2017
Rating: 8.5/10

With their previous two releases, Dreadnought had already made a name for themselves with their ‘everything but the kitchen sink’ approach to metal. So many different styles, yet somehow it always felt cohesive. So where’s a band to go when they have already developed a unique identity (always a challenge to start) this early into the game? With A Wake in Sacred Waves, the band find themselves fine-tuning the edges while expanding their sonic horizons even further.

While it might seem like a death blow to some, the band’s 4-song, 53-minute album stays shockingly fresh and inventive throughout. While many bands fall into monotony and meandering riffs as the time rises, Dreadnought are steadfast in their study to design emotive songs that branch widely in direction while generating an experience that transcends genre. You can basically pick a sub-genre (we won’t bore with the tedious list) and point at something within the band’s sound, other than death metal. Things can easily move from more aggressive territory, complete with thunderous drums and howling vocals, to psychedelic/stoner vibes, before hitting serene and peaceful progressive riffing and clean vocals accompanied by flute or saxophone without any sensation of jarring. The whole package is wrapped around a feeling of nature, but not in the same way that some Cascadian black metal acts hit you over the head with it. But it gives everything a sense of purpose. With the length of the tracks, they can slowly build things up and bring them back down – often leading to some real culminating moments that resonate with the listener. This seemingly deliberate approach also keeps them more compelling, as the many different pieces wrap together to create an even more larger-than-life feeling.

As described in our review of their last album, there’s no one out there that does metal quite like Dreadnought. A Wake in Sacred Waves has some of the band’s strongest transition work to date, and sees them continue to stretch their boundaries. This is an album that is to be experienced as a whole, where one can simply absorb it in its entirety and bask in the little moments that bring it all together.

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