Album: Seventhian …Memories of Time
Label: Independent/Secret Door
Genre: Power Metal
Release Date: December 9th, 2016
Dreamtale is one of those bands that are considered successful, but probably not to the extent of being in league with most contemporary power metal flag bearers in terms of fame and playlist regularity. This Finnish act was founded by Rami Keränen almost 18 years ago and continued to live on as the group’s remaining original member and guitarist. With different members cycling in and out, the band decides to put some effort into a seventh studio album release which is conveniently called Seventhian …Memories of Time. It’s quite a double-disced powerhouse with 20 songs although we all know, sometimes the quantity sounds like a problem with quality. Let’s see.
The opening track Dreality is an interesting hybrid word for a title. It’s melodically inviting and the keyboard work of Akseli Kaasalainen takes over the mix in a gentle manner. Erkki Seppänen’s voice works so well with tenor lines and it won’t fail towards the end. For Our Future is this release’s early bombastic weapon as demonstrated by its tempo and shredding throughout the whole song. The drum mix is quite exquisite as well, thanks to Janne Juutinen’s rolls you can easily enjoy everything from left to right with good phones or speakers.
As much as we would like to know more about what else is in store, pretty much the whole package will be what you’re already expecting, for better or worse. October is Mine’s horn synths greets you with a “Hello, this time I’m now doing more high notes” feel, it’s just like the first track but this time Seppänen jumps more octaves which falls dangerously into a tiring live conversion the more you listen to it. Picnic Inferno’s an enjoyable hard rock escapade and like the title, it’s simply enjoyable as it is. Cabal Toyboy is a galloping rush with a more interesting flow with its progression. The song structuring gets different by this time and it’s always nice to hear thicker E’s thanks to Seppo Kolehmainen’s rhythm contributions.
True Life falls into that middle-song range where you almost won’t realize it exists since it uses a minimalistic formula and this album has already been sinking deep into that pit. But it redeems itself with Reality Reborn which is theoretically almost the best song from this album. Good riffs, good grooves courtesy of Heikki Ahonen’s smooth bass work and string diversity. And better yet, Fusion Illusion’s a nice contrast to what you’ve been listening to for the past half hour however it’s unsure why the volume button got held down abruptly at the end.
Names on the Wall is “the” song that will possibly get you going for the entirety. If there’s any belief of progression, it starts from this song and you can hope that Dreamtale can still brighten up your two hour night drive. And suddenly you wake up with Greenback Hunter. The smell of what you’re used to with power metal is now present with this song but it’s not exactly a standing ovation. Moral Messiah gets next and the weird part about is that it starts like an alternative experiment but surprisingly, it’s this album’s first standard triplet adventure. And thus, the first half ends with Embrace my Scars. It’s a splendid ballad at first, should it be a stand-alone or a single but it tricks you into a tempo spin and ends up with distortion anyway. At this point, you’ve probably realized that there’s good notes and melodies, but there’s something that tells you that it’s not getting into top tier.
Refuge from Reality is actually the first song for the “…Memories of Time” half of this release. Nothing really stands out too much from this point on, sad to say though you’ll still find the rest to be an ear massage. Call of the Wild gets you pumped at first but at certain times there’s a magnetic dynamic slowdown that prevents you from enjoying it as a whole. It might just be unusual progression but if there’s anything to pluck out, the song still has the power metal brand. Then there’s that interesting almost-MIDI keyboard solo which just teases you for what they really wanted to put on the table, a royal flush that sadly ends too short.
Angel’s Eyes makes Seppänen sound like Geoff Tate. The song’s good though, but alas this trip probably won’t excite you anymore if you’re still looking for a crowd pleaser. Two Hundred Men’s an adventurous one but will hardly get past your passive listening barrier. My Only Wish has a true serious tone but never really escapes an average listen. There’s something about it that makes it better as time goes by though, so maybe you can give that a spot on your ballad playlist. World’s Child has a short vibrant instrumental section but ultimately, no one really sticks with a song because of one good part. Take What the Heavens Create laughs with the familiar with synth and it leads to a belief that this album just wants to conclude the race. It’s a short song, lyrics are regularly optimistic and finally, it ends with Firebird. They obviously wanted it to end beautifully but the song’s potential is buried under 19 other songs that sound like it.
Dreamtale has a habit of plunging with force only to stick a knife somewhere and the breathing gets stiff. Or in layman’s terms, they get a good riff going, then they take those pauses and spends seconds with it until you’re left with that direction they steered onto. This review however does not take old albums into account so if this has been their blueprint for two decades now, we won’t know. The vocal high notes seems stretched in a way that makes you worry if it’s going to be hit live. The guitars are a bit welded in the middle volume and that might contribute to a lot of what’s lacking. As lengthy as this review might be, aside from a few standouts there really isn’t much of a variety especially when their market uses the same fables and weaponry. However, it’s not a consolation medal when we’re going to talk about how they can create cool instrumental and vocal melodies, it’s just that there are some unreadable factors that make the mix close to mediocrity. Seventhian …and your memories of what was it?
2. For Our Future
3. October Is Mine
4. Picnic Inferno
5. Cabal Toyboy
6. True Life
7. Reality Reborn
8. Fusion Illusion
9. Names On The Wall
10. Greenback Hunter
11. Moral Messiah
12. Embrace My Scars
13. Refuge From Reality
14. Call Of The Wild
15. Angel’s Eyes
16. Two Hundred Men
17. My Only Wish
18. World’s Child
19. Take What The Heavens Create
Total Playing Time: 1:26:14