|The sophomore effort by Dreams After Death is a fine, interesting piece of Atmospheric Funeral Doom with an individual touch.|
How many Doom Metal bands from Hungary can you think of? Off the top of my head, I for my part cannot think of any bands at all – except for the solo project Dreams After Death which I wasn’t aware of until I received the recently released sophomore album for reviewing. While I cannot compare this release to its predecessor, I can tell you this: the material is so convincing that I would like to listen to the first album as soon as possible!
András Illés, the man behind this project, has chosen the stylistic framework of Atmospheric Funeral Doom to convey his ideas. However, his take on the genre is quite individual, using familiar ingredients to ultimately create a feel of its own. It goes without saying that the music is very minimalist: simple and repetitive rhythmic patterns set the basis, dark distorted guitars drag the listener down with their cascading motifs, and synth or organ overdubs add extra depth to the sound. In combination with the vocals, the precisely calculated arrangements evoke a truly claustrophobic atmosphere. The growls are strong, but not all that surprising in the stylistic context; it is the anguished screams that are really impressive and unusual. Sustained for inhumanly long periods and drenched in reverb, they make me think of someone trapped at the bottom of a deep, lightless well, helplessly screaming into the darkness, the hoarse voice fading in its futile attempt to reach up into the daylight.
After the first two songs, there is a shift towards a softer, more melancholic style, beginning with the purely instrumental, contemplative “Sadness”. “Peace” features a long – indeed peaceful – section without drums or vocals where understated guitars are meandering gently on top of a simple synthesizer theme. The last two tracks even drop the guitars for the most part: while “Love” relies on melancholic clean vocals to get its fairly un-doomy message across, “Nothingness” once again proves how aptly the simplistic song titles have been chosen with its vague synth arrangement slowly disintegrating and fading into the void.
The above observations seem to indicate that there is a deeper concept behind Fading Chains – it works as a coherent whole rather than a loose collection of unrelated compositions. Dreams After Death obviously does not intend to adhere to any fixed genre convention. Instead, the Hungarian musician has the courage to explore his own artistic vision and transcend the limitations of a specific genre without becoming inconsistent. I always applaud this kind of creative integrity, but it also carries a risk: not everyone shares my positive attitude towards experimentation, and even if you do, there is no guarantee that you will appreciate the way it is done in this particular case. Many Extreme/Funeral Doom fans will find this album too soft, not crushing enough etc. The clean vocals will not be to everyone’s liking, either: even though, to me, they are a pleasant addition considering that the obligatory growls can become somewhat predictable and boring in the genre, they are not technically flawless and certainly not ‘Metal’ in any way.
Despite these caveats, I see no reason why a lover of Atmospheric Funeral Doom shouldn’t give Fading Chains a try, especially since it can be streamed for free on Bandcamp. A CD release is currently in the making, too. As a final verdict, I can say that this is indeed a very good album with great atmospheres and a personality of its own which, despite its quality and coherence, will not convince everyone.
Click HERE to discuss this review on the doom-metal forum.
Duration : Approx. 61 minutes
Visit the Dreams After Death bandpage.