I'm fairly certain many people's first thought when seeing this band name is: "Who?", and I can't really blame them. Though formed almost a decade ago, Dreyelands are now making their debut - and I have to say they're doing it in style. I've said before that there don't seem to be too many bands left out there that are really doing great, inventive things within the style of music I really like. Even moreso, there doesn't seem to be that many brand new exciting bands out there. Prior to release, the band dropped a short trailer that certainly had fans of Progressive Metal chomping at the bit for more, and with their debut album - "Rooms of Revelation", they get it.
The album is divided into 8 main tracks and an intro, with each main track named "Room 1" through "Room 8", with subtitles. The songs manage to tackle a wide range of expressions and emotions, from more dark and angry themes, to more light and catchy stuff, to more somber and emotional material. Certainly not content on autopilot, the band's songwriting is filled with fresh and creative passages and changes that keep the listener coming back, and even discovering new intricacies with repeated listens. The thing that first struck me as a stand-out aspect of this band is singer Nikola Mijic, who is honestly one of the best completely new (to me) singers I've heard in quite a while. His style can best be described as a cleaner (less abrasive) version of Mats leven, who is already a singer I quite like. That's not to say the instrumentalists don't shine through though. The keyboards play a very prominent role in this operation, featuring some great solos as well as atmospheric textures, showcasing a good variety of sounds. The rhythm section is tight and more than proficient, and the guitar playing is pretty fantastic. When the band feels the need, the riffs can get very sinister and heavy - but they also show a lot of restraint, not letting the riffs run away and bury the other instruments. The production is also worthy of note, being very, very strong - downright top-notch for such a new, unknown band. Many times a band takes a while to find its niche, and usually 1 or 2 albums pass before the band will pass into maturity and make something that truly shines. Not the case here, especially in terms of the general sound of the album.
And the songs themselves? All told the proper opener, "Room 1: Seek For Salvation
", isn't quite as powerful as I feel it maybe should have been, but it's no matter. Honestly, I feel that as the album proceeds, the songs actually get better, eventually peaking somewhere past the half-way point. "Room 2: Can't Hide Away
", is strong, but "Room 3: Pretending
" is even better, hitting the listener with a strong batch of hooks and upbeat melodies. It seems as though the band buried their progressive side with this tune, but then about half-way through, it hits you like a brick wall with a very different groovy middle section showcasing a heavy dose of keyboards. Maybe a tad disconnect from the rest of the song, but certainly brilliantly executed. Continuing the seemless flow of tracks, "Room 4: Fragments
" picks up the pace a bit and may be my favorite song on the entire disc, featuring a balance of heaviness of pure melodic bliss. The bridge is a nice change of pace, and launches the listener headlong into another intricate middle section. With the level of songwriting maturity present on tracks like this one, you would never guess that this was such a young band. "Room 5: Way to You
" is the second-longest and arguably the most intricate of all the tracks present here - that being said, there's still a big and powerful chorus and an abundant supply of melodies. The next track is the most unlikely but yet the most resounding gem of the entire disc. "Room 6: Blossoms of Decay
", is practically a segue track in the grand scheme of the album, as it's by far the shortest. However in this 3-minute track the band have created an absolutely great, emotional masterpiece of a ballad. Featuring a lot of piano, great orchestration, and top-notch vocals, this track is sure to pull at your heart strings for its all-too-short length. As the track gets going, it sets up the next tune, "Room 7: Vain
" which again features a really nice mix of different dynamics, and a great balance between technicality and melody. The riffs at times are brutal, but the band never lose sight of their emotional center. If the previous track and this one could be combined into one 11-minute song, it would no doubt be my favorite on the disc, as they are probably the two leading candidates on their own. The aforementioned "Vain" features a really nice extended guitar solo in the middle, segueing into a very inventive instrumental break which gets all the instruments in on the action. The album's closing track, "Room 8: Leaving Grace
", is another tune in the style of the albums heavier, more technical tracks - but also features a mixture of some very heavy doomy sections and some absolutely uplifting larger-than-life melodies. Not the strongest end possible, as it's probably my second-least favorite track behind the album's opener. But nevertheless, it's still a strong tune.
With "Rooms of Revelation", Hungary's Dreyelands have certainly established a place in the still-growing world of Progressive Metal. The album has a few shortcomings I think, but the strengths certainly make up for it and make it a collectively great and enjoyable piece of work that is sure to be enhanced by repeated listens. If a new band can release an album this strong as a debut, it's almost frightening to think what they might be able to accomplish in a couple of years if given the opportunity to grow. If that's true, it's only a matter of time until the world takes notice of this great new band, and this very strong album they have put forth.
Written by Jeff Teets (originally for http://www.wpapu.com