Heretic’s Dream – Floating State of Mind (Sliptrick Records)

Thursday, 18th February 2016
Rating: 8/10

These days, classifications for particular bands can be a challenging proposition. Especially when you throw around the ‘progressive’ tag – because that alone can mean anything from djent stints to Watchtower-like mathematical equations set to music. Where Italian five-piece Heretic’s Dream comes from on Floating State of Mind – the band’s third full-length – is more of the standard progressive metal platform that launched Fates Warning and Dream Theater into the stratosphere during the 1980’s-90’s, while also injecting a mixture of gothic and alternative melodies and nuances to become more of their own entity.

The appeal to the sound can be as simple as a fluid bass line that gains momentum as the drums and guitars weave in, around, and upside down in off-time intricacies. Check out the ethereal “Master Your Demons” for these lighter touches that segue into brighter, heavier chord progressions – bassist Emiliano Baccini and drummer Alfonso Mocerino up front and center in propelling this mid-tempo cut with mysterious, other worldly-oriented vocal melodies. Another difference maker is present in the alternative voice of Francesca Di Ventura – her delivery choice more like Berlin’s Terri Nunn or Divinyls’ singer Chrissy Amphlett in kind of a seductive, semi-moaning nature rather than anything gothic, operatic, or even high register at all points.

Whereas a lot of progressive metal bands will go for technical glory or overload the listener in intricacy, Heretic’s Dream often seek the softer, more open route to take a particular riff and shape the musicianship moments to breathe new life and let the ears perk up in surprise – the best example being the shape shifting “Momentum” that has a lot of Parallels-period Fates Warning to the guitar tradeoffs. Sticking to a shorter is better theme throughout the 10 tracks (only “Pilgrim” nudges near the six-minute mark), the versatility between the double bass pounding opener “Face the Agony” and the more mid-tempo marching “Golden Cage” gives the listener easier to grasp hooks, often from a more modern outlook especially in terms of the lively production values.

Now based in the UK, Floating State of Mind has that possible multi-genre appeal beyond the conventional progressive metal or alternative rock communities – ideal for Heretic’s Dream in establishing their own following.

Heretic’s Dream official website