Saturday, September 06, 2014

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Review: Dream The Electric Sleep - Heretics (2014)


Information:
Artist: Dream The Electric Sleep
Album: Heretics
Release date: January 31st, 2014
Label: Self released

Tracklist:

1. Heretics - 4'50
2. Elizabeth - 8'22
3. Utopic - 6'38
4. To Love Is To Leave - 8'01
5. The Name You Fear - 6'09
6. It Must Taste Good - 8'31
7. I Know What You Are - 6'42
8. Fist To Face - 4'15
9. Lost Our Faith - 2'05
10. How Long We Wait - 9'28
11. Ashes Fall - 8'07
Running time: 73:08

Production details: Produced by Dream The Electric Sleep
Recorded at Sneak Attack Recording Co. Lexington, KY
Engineered, mixed and mastered by Jay Groves

Packaging details:
Format:
 CD/Digipack
Info: 8 pages booklet.
Cover art by Matt Page
Layout by Chris Tackett and Matt Page


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Review by Rodrigo 'Rroio' Carvalho       Rating: 

Thoughts: Let’s be honest. I feared for prog recently.

Not that there were not excellent albums (in 2011, particularly) being released or bands trying to keep our beloved music alive, it’s not that. It’s just that everything seem to be in place, locked around its own paradigm established decades ago by the progressive gods. There are good children sounding like Genesis, Yes, Pink Floyd, Dream Theater, Spock’s Beard or any other you can remember right now. But truth is: there are only a few thinking like them.

There are only a few who are trying to push music boundaries, to extrapolate formulas, to insert unexpected elements, to be controversial, to challenge our intelligence, to effectively create something new. There are only a few who are trying to keep the real spirit of prog alive. But good news, they’re still out there, and Dream The Electric Sleep is one of these.

Heretics (2014) is the sophomore album by the American prog rock quartet from Lexington, whose identity builds it up not only around the classic influences, but also from alternative rock, electronic music, folk, doom and a careful psychedelic ensemble that envelops a deep concept about Elizabeth, the human equality and fight for rights in the 20th century and, last but not least, hope.

Sit down, relax, and fasten your seatbelts. The journey to a long time ago is beginning. Watch everything, touch nothing. You start moving through a tunnel, while the story itself moves backwards. It’s accelerating and you’re close to pass out when it stops. You fell on a small and simple town, welcomed by a stranger, an old man wearing an old suit and an old hat. This is where 'Heretics' begin, with a psychedelic touch, almost as if a young Roger Waters jam with the early King Crimson, creating an atmosphere that leads us to know our main character, 'Elizabeth'.

A constant rhythm works as a background instrumental for the paradox between the obligations and hope of the lyrics, a common dilemma in these times, that sounds like the thin edge before something happen, close to the boiling point. It’s something you can see in the air, it stinks, it haunts, even when a gilmourian solo comes from nowhere.

'Utopic', as suggested by the name, has this dreamy feel, an atmosphere behind American prog metal passages that flows like an uncontrolled spiral, an idea that grows inside you more and more, unleashing yourself from what the world around you say is the right. A chaos personifies in the vocal melodies, excellent for its confusion, and absolutely different from 'The Love Is To Leave', a semi-acoustic ballad filled with memorable lyrics and a windy touch, as if you suddenly are laying on the border of a cliff, while you look at the clouds passing by and psychedelic doom thunders in the distance.
Surprisingly gloomy and creeping, 'The Name You Fear' brings uncountable instrumental layers, within the sensation of floating, afraid that any less movement would attract a hunter. On the other hand, 'It Must Taste Good' is some hybrid between recent Anathema and Porcupine Tree, building up a cinematic piece, climatic, heavy, breaking prog rock, alternative and eighty’s electronic to pieces, blending and putting it all together again in a beautiful experiment of chaos.

Another disturbingly interesting moment comes within 'I Know What You Are': an introduction that reminds at the same time of Genesis and Kansas leads to an old English folk flowing behind a voice that reminds of Matthew Bellamy, to finish in a classic post-rock instrumental part, ethereal, like being taken by the waves and carried through the ocean. Confusing? For sure, but still something that impresses. And if it’s not enough, what can we say about 'Fist To Face'? Probably the most “indie rock” moment in Heretics (2014), considering its folk approach, a simple percussion and easy melodies, somewhere between The Gaslight Anthem, Band of Horses and Mumford & Sons, maybe.

The same feeling continues on the beauty of 'Lost Our Faith', which despite being almost as short as an interlude, has one of the best melodies of the whole album, followed by 'How Long We Wait' and its nine minutes of modern prog in its finest. From psychedelic broken rhythms of The Mars Volta to melody driven Coheed and Cambria, through reflexive The Dear Hunter and complexity of classic prog, the song is unexpected at every single second, just like the next, 'Ashes Fall'.

The journey ends in a heavy feeling, a sensation of a world changing, being rebuilt. An impression of looking to the future, at the same time you think about everything you’ve done so far, over a hard space rock growing over nineties prog metal. A cinematic and epic end it truly deserves.

At this point, you probably realized Heretics (2014) isn’t an easy listening. It’s a complex work, one that you’ll must be ready to spend hours and hours digging deeper. And once you’re there, understanding its truly essence, you’ll see why Dream The Electric Sleep is one of the most interesting emerging prog bands nowadays. The album has infinite layers, classics and out of the box influences that don’t lock them anywhere, it instigates and provokes our mind, it breaks what we expect, all connected by a concept good enough to keep you trying to understand every verse. It’s a puzzle making you think twice before anything.

Also, this is all about hope. And if there’s one album that made me restore my faith on progressive rock on 2014, this album, my friends, is Heretics (2014).
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Listen to Dream The Electric Sleep on our Podcast #36 HERE.

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