The first bio/info I saw about Dreamarcher said that they were a “blackened progressive metal gem based in Oslo, Norway.” I am fond of weird combination of words, and “gem” together with what went before it got me intrigued right away. Since I also liked the influences the band listed, I volunteered to review them.
When I finally sat down to write about their new album The Bond, I found that they had since changed “gem” to “band” on their facebook page. That caught me unprepared, because while listening to the album, I had already formulated some sentences in my mind based on the word “gem”. So, while the band have apparently outgrown their self-praise phase, I’m not quite ready to forget about it.
Like the precious stones they compared themselves to, Dreamarcher have many facets. The influences they list range from Deafhaven, Converge, Mastodon and The Mars Volta to A Place To Bury Strangers, Baroness and Sunn O))). However, they themselves don’t sound like any of those bands. That’s quite an achievement!
What do they sound like? Well, I was primarily, reminded of the Deftones and of nu metal in general. And nu metal is not one of my favourite genres in heavy music.
The band’s music is many-faceted and progressive in the way that they fuse genres, have complex song structures, with tempo and rhythm changing constantly. The vocals, too, are very diverse: three band members sing, sometimes clean and sometimes growled.
The major problem lies in the missing cohesiveness of the songs. Complex song structures, tempo and rhythm changes do not automatically equal good song writing. While there are elements that sound good on their own, there is not one song on the album that works well or forms a cohesive whole. It’s just all too much of a smorgasbord. Sometimes you get the impression that every band member is in a different band in his mind: the drummer plays in a black or death metal outfit, while the main guitarist is in a psyche band and the vocalist either in a screamo/hardcore troupe or a boy band. Too harsh? Well, have a listen.
Also, you can completely disregard the “blackened” part in the bio. There is nothing black here. Fast, double kick drumming and growled vocals inserted here and there do not make black metal. Where is the hate, the nihilism, the misanthropy? Even if you can hear them in some parts, they are negated in others.
So, to conclude: Dreamarcher play a more complex variety of nu metal, with vague lyrics and both clean and growled vocals. According to the info sheet, the album has an environmental theme, and that’s praise-worthy, but you could never conclude that from just listening to the lyrics.
This, unfortunately, wasn’t my cup of tea. I’m not into gem stones. Too posh, too polished.