Dream Evil – Six (Century Media)Tuesday, 16th May 2017
When taking in Dream Evil, one feels like tongue is firmly planted in cheek at much of the outlook of heavy metal. Stage names like Mark U Black and Ritchie Rainbow, previous album titles like Dragon Slayer and The Book of Heavy Metal, plus the comical video content proves these members chose to enjoy themselves. Nothing wrong with that at all – as the heavy/power metal unit back things up with proper, focused songwriting on Six, their sixth studio record and first in seven years. Most would consider this career suicide to wait this long for another album, but considering guitarist Fredrik Nordström’s in demand production work pays the bills, the fans should celebrate a fresh product like a fine, vintage wine.
Keeping the material lean, mean, and down to earth allows Dream Evil to cater their craft at basic levels – inducing head banging, fist pumping moments immediately and attempting to maintain that baseline from first note to last. The soaring tenor range of Nick Night (aka Niklas Isfeldt) fleshes out the spectrum, equally adept at Priest-like potency for “How to Start a War” just as much as the more melodic inclinations of “Sin City” (the chorus very 80’s Scorpions-esque). Knowing the audience occasionally needs an up-tempo kick in the ass, “Antidote” provides that spark – while anthems rule the roost, as many will be hard pressed not to slam themselves into submission at the riff mechanics for “Six Hundred and 66” or the Ozzy-like licks for “Too Loud”. Monster gang background vocals plant themselves throughout as added shout-a-long encouragement, “Dream Evil” and previously noted “Antidote” ideal for that energy transfer and audience participation when aired live. Vestiges of classic Savatage appear in personal favorite “Hellride”, the main guitar parts and Nick’s multi-octave melody work reminiscent of the classic Oliva brothers Mountain King period of domination.
Veterans of the business, Six doesn’t reinvent the wheel so much as stay the course. Those who love some Sunset Strip 80’s antics infused into a melodic, heavy/power metal template need Dream Evil in their collective headspace.