Deep Sun – Dreamland – Behind the Shades (Massacre Records)

Monday, 6th June 2022
Rating: 8 / 10

Choosing to change out aspects of the lineup, sound, songwriting tactics, and even band logo, Swiss symphonic metal/rock band Deep Sun arrive at a new juncture in their career with this third album Dreamland – Behind the Shades. Bassist Angelo Salerno and keyboardist Thomas Hiebaum took over the composing musically, leaving the dream-oriented storylines (literal and symbolic/allegory driven) in the capable hands of singer Debora Lavagnolo. Seeking our Austrian producer Frank Pitters – who has done work behind the boards for Visions of Atlantis and Edenbridge among others – ensures a solid soundscape to encompass the diverse flow and dynamic capabilities illustrated through these eleven tracks.

There’s an uplifting charm and flow to specific musical hooks and supplementary choruses/main melodies that invite proper audience sing-along participation – check out “Living the Dream” with its flute-like keyboard sequence, steady mid-tempo double kick underpinning, and multi-part vocal harmonies as an early favorite. The drumming of Tobias Brutschi plus heavier guitar tones of latest member Stephan Riner injects a modern atmosphere even in a more culturally marching, Viking-like effort such as “Mitternachtstanz”. The five-piece present the right cinematic scope into tightly crafted songs chock full of strong main hooks, transitions, and the operatic confidence and glimmering emotional guidance from Debora – even in the 7:14 title track, the longer instrumental sequences have proper consistency and flow to stir the soul, choosing guitar/keyboard interplay that reverts to Styx/Kansas days. Even a bit of that military/Sabaton-like pomp and circumstance filters into “Rogue (Dreaming Leprechaun Part II)”, another charmer that has a swinging groove and playful melody/choir supplementation, Stephan again delivering a tasty, circular guitar break. A sense of immediacy becomes apparent throughout the record – even with the versatility of heavier and lighter numbers, nothing really drones on for too long, which is a good thing in a genre that can often be a little overreaching and bombastic/excessive in places.

Definitely cleaner and more current sounding than ever, Deep Sun with Dreamland – Behind the Shades take their abilities to the next level, probably gaining more appeal for those who love catchier, commercial-oriented arrangements and the right level of keyboard/guitar action in the symphonic metal/rock terrain.

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