Ever since I was introduced to the Gothenburg metal scene about 12 or 13 years ago, I have been in love with melodic death metal. Bands like At The Gates, Dark Tranquility, Children Of Bodom, and In Flames were staples of my musical diet during my high school years, so this genre holds a very special place in my heart. Some bands have kept the faith going over the years, and while there certainly have been noteworthy releases, nothing has really blown my mind for quite some time now. Well, that ended a few days ago when I started giving Dreamshade’s new album, What Silence Hides, some rotations in my queue. Melodic death metal is alive and well, and this time it’s coming from Switzerland.
Hailing from Lugano, Switzerland, Dreamshade is a six piece melodic death metal band that is at home with refined, dense soundscapes rife with intense energy and beautiful harmonies. The opening and titular track sets the stage for the articulate onslaught that follows, and I must admit that I was pleasantly surprised to hear keyboards integrated into the music extremely well (keyboards happen to be one of my least favorite instruments in extreme metal because in my opinion, they are hardly ever utilized correctly).
As good as the first couple tracks were, I’ll confess that they didn’t completely hook me. No, it was when the third track, “Revive In Me”, kicked in that I knew I was in love with this band. The transition from the intro to the first verse gave me a grin from ear to ear, caused me to crank the knob on my car stereo, and induced a full-on rock out session in my car, complete with rapid head movement and rhythmic banging on my steering wheel. I can only imagine what kind of maniac I looked like in traffic while I was stuck on MA Rt 3. It was worth it. It forced me to take a step back and fully realize the masterpiece that had fallen in my lap.
Dreamshade has the technical chops to play music with the big boys, and they bring a lot to the table. Impressively, every instrument truly compliments the others. The guitars are fairly elaborate and often move at breakneck speeds, yet never falter from being elegantly melodic. The keyboard never felt overbearing or out of place, and when it’s not in total harmony with the driving riff it’s glorifying the song as a whole with diminished yet recognizable presence. The bass alternates between rounding out the guitar sound and falling back to the overall groove of the song, just like it should. The drums are solid and complex enough to stay interesting, but they are never complicated solely for the sake of being complicated. It just works.
The vocals are pretty good. I like the higher end screams, which are fairly traditional for the melodic death metal sound. I definitely favored these over the guttural growls that were used much less often, much to my delight. The low end delivery just didn’t fit in as well with the finished product because this just doesn’t come across as a brutal album.
In the end, all I can really say is HOLY SHIT! What Silence Hides has quickly become one of my all-time favorite records. If you like melodic death metal, buying this album is a no-brainer. In fact, if you’re like me and you think that In Flames should have broken up shortly after Clayman, run out and get this shit now! It’s funny, because a few days ago when I first returned to Thrash Magazine, I started my revival review by saying that 2010 wasn’t a great year for metal and that I was hoping for a comeback in 2011. Between this and The Famine, so far, so good!
01. What Silence Hides
02. As Serenity Falls
03. Revive In Me
04. Wide Awake
06. Miles Away
07. Only Memories Remain
09. Erased By Time
10. Open Wounds