1/4/2006 - Review by: Eric Compton
Dreamland - Future's Calling - 2005 - Dockyard 1
Sweden's Dreamland first gained notice with their appearance at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2001. In 2002 the band released their first demo/single called "The Call". Famous Swedish power metal guru and Hammerfall vocalist Joacim Cans heard that call and started helping the young band produce their first album, lending his wise guidance to melody lines, vocal delivery, and of course the basic fundamentals of recording a debut. While Cans isn't directly in the band, his "touch" can easily be heard on this debut album entitled "Future's Calling".
I happened to hear this release in it's entirety before reading anything about the group. My first thought was of course, "this is like a new Hammerfall album". After reading the backstory I now see why that is. That really isn't a bad thing in my opinion. Many people complain that Hammerfall are too generic and that they lack any real identity. To this day I have yet to find a band that plays straight forward, catchy, melodic power metal that recalls the past so well. The only thing close thus far is probably Dream Evil. But let's talk about Dreamland in more detail, shall we?
For starters vocalist Joacim Lundberg is very much in the style of Joacim Cans. His register and delivery is one of clean, middle of the road range. He does occasionally hit some high notes, but for the most part he stays fairly mid-range throughout. Guitarists Johan Eriksson and Eric Rauti are really phenomenal, showing off a mentality that incorporates HUGE hooks and melody with fast leads and twin guitar exercising. Bassist Mats Rendlert drives most of these songs, with Cans' production job keeping a close ear to the loud bass line recordings of past legends like Accept and U.D.O. Drummer Marcus Sköld keeps everything in check with very tight drum patterns that really never speed up and rarely break into double bass beats. For the most part this band is like Hammerfall in the way that they are mid-speed, mid-range, and very "true metal fighting spirit" oriented with their songwriting.
Favorite numbers here are the very basic elements of "Hearts Like Lions" and "Breaking The Chains". The band does experiment some here, throwing in the slow ballad piece "Fade Away", and dabbling in some progressive moments on "Blank Mind". This is pretty solid Swedish power metal and occasionally you will hear that epic German sound, most evident with the furious cut "I Die Slowly".
Bottom Line - Those of you into the Swedish power metal vein will LOVE Dreamland. They have everything that they need to compete and lead in that particular genre. Those of you who cater to more epic and speedier pastures in the power metal landscape may find this album a bit too "weathered" and calculated. Personally, the "Future's Calling" is like a glimpse in the crystal ball. Dreamland will be successful for a long time to come.
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