Dreams in Fragments – When Echoes Fade (Boersma Records)Thursday, 13th May 2021
Making a distinctive impression back in 2019 through their first release Reflections in a Nightmare, hope is high that the follow-up When Echoes Fade continues the wonderful melodic meets darker/heavier balance for the symphonic metal style of Swiss band Dreams in Fragments. New drummer Roger Häfliger arrived last year, already familiar to bandmate Christian Geissmann due to their work together in the thrash/death band Proxima. What’s always intriguing about these musicians is their ability to channel dynamic contrasts between light and darkness, heaviness and atmosphere, to deliver everything from peppy electro/pop angles to semi-death/doom along with familiar gothic/symphonic templates throughout these twelve tracks.
The heavy guitar tone and supplementary keyboard programming gets “Hey You” off to a strong, catchy start, the vocals of Seraina Schöpfer and Christian a playful volley between her soaring, clean melodies and his lower, semi-talkative approach. Swirling winds and a modern rhythm-based / electro swirl pushes “Bulletproof” into that Amaranthe veneer, although the pulsating guitars and organ strains lean this a bit into the Powerwolf camp as well. Aspects of Paradise Lost and Cemetary come into shape through the beauty and the beast clean to growl trade offs during “Rage and Fire”, while a flair for the cinematic and dramatic twists occurs during “She’s the Fall”, the progressive transitions and semi-staccato elements as well as piano/orchestral flourishes keeping the listener full engrossed against the airy vocal action. Smartly keeping most of the songs around the four to five-minute time frame allows the consumer to digest the ideas and move onto the next one without dragging things out with superfluous excess. Closing with an 80’s throwback as far as the spacey keyboards, hypnotic background voices, and stunted guitar combinations, “Own the Night” may be the outlier cut because it’s definitely got more of that Peter Gabriel / “Shock the Monkey” vibe than anything metal related.
Perfect for those who love Sirenia, Xandria, as well as the aforementioned variety of outside influences to create a sound that is quite catchy, easy to retain, and sure to appease most who love the commercial side of symphonic metal.