Grave Pleasures – Dreamcrash (Sony Music)Thursday, 24th September 2015
It’s difficult to decide whether to take Dreamcrash as a debut album from a new band, which is what we are supposed to accept – rather than a sequel to Beastmilk’s debut album from 2013. Certainly what the world wanted was another Beastmilk album, as Climax was about as excellent as a debut album gets. For whatever reasons, and despite (or perhaps due to) the critical acclaim and worldwide buzz surrounding the band, Beastmilk imploded, though not entirely. Guitarist “Goatspeed” and drummer “Paile” were shown the door, and replaced with guitarists Juho Vanhanen (Oranssi Pazuzu) and Linnea Olsson (The Oath), as well as drummer Uno Bruniusson (In Solitude). So yes, a new band to be sure – but the signature sound of the band is intact. That potent blend of “apocalyptic” post-punk and goth rock, fronted by the talented crooner “Kvhost” carries on, and sounds basically like its previous incarnation. So what’s the problem?
Why Beastmilk was so damn infectious and beloved was simple – hooks that don’t quit. From the word go, Climax was, and is, a record that begs repeat listens. Every track delivering delightful catchiness and melodic swagger was the magic. In Dreamcrash, the band seem to shoot for some of the same targets, yet in more of a melodically angular direction – notably from the guitars (see “Worn Threads” for example). Frontman “Kvhost” still has his impressive skills on display here, notably on one of the album’s stronger moments “Taste the Void”, where he touches on that old Misfits vibe that so endeared him to many, the last time around. Some of the post-punk inflections can be felt thanks to the Cure-sounding bass tones on another decent track “Girl in a Vortex”, one of the band’s more delicate offerings.
Where the songs fail to impress is not with the musicianship or the production, which is all fine – it’s with the lack of real hooks. It is not until the fifth song in “Crisis” that we finally get a taste of that potent melody that we were waiting for, and decent as the song may be, it still can’t compete with the old guard. Throw in a couple others that are fair to middling, the dull “Crooked Vein” and a couple decent tunes that aren’t as good as any of the Beastmilk songs, and you correctly spell disappointment.