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In Thy Dreams - "Highest Beauty" (CD)

In Thy Dreams - "Highest Beauty" CD cover image

"Highest Beauty" track listing:

1. The Highest Beauty (3:01)
2. Surrealistic Insanity (2:25)
3. Hatred (2:39)
4. Spirits Forge (4:17)
5. Control (2:56)
6. Selfpity Human (3:23)
7. Lower Regions (3:37)
8. Razor-Sharp (2:12)
9. Weeping Twilight (3:08)
10. Upon Your God (4:14)

Reviewed by on August 8, 2008

"In Thy Dreams is clearly interested solely in tearing down the foundations of the universe with non-stop heavy guitars and reducing their listener's ears to mush with their growls, shrieks, and screams."

From the very start of the first track, "Highest Beauty" will furiously scream to anyone within earshot exactly what can be expected from the rest of the album, which is pulse pounding, heart ripping death metal that grabs for the throat and doesn't let go until the last track ends. Where other bands in the genre might interject a mellow instrumental track to punctuate the heavy sequences, or possibly intersperse the head banging metal with melodic keyboard or violin compositions, In Thy Dreams is clearly interested solely in tearing down the foundations of the universe with non-stop heavy guitars and reducing their listener's ears to mush with their growls, shrieks, and screams.

For the first offering from a death metal band, "Highest Beauty" has exceptional production values. Vocals are always clear over guitars, guitars never drone out drums, and so forth. This is an anomaly in the metal world, as most black or death metal band's early releases are characterized by incredibly poor production. The album also manages to never get overly repetitive or boring, which is another aberration from the genre norm. Just as any given song is about to cross the line into vapid repetition, guitarist Jari Kuusisto will suddenly switch gears and go in a completely different direction, or vocalist Thomas Lindfors will shift from a deep Cannibal Corpse style growl into a more high pitched, throat tearing shriek. The band seems to very clearly realize the limitations of straightforward death metal, working well within those limitations to produce tracks with just enough variation to keep a listener hooked for the whole album. The songs always end exactly when they should and never flounder on with the same riff repeatedly to make the album longer.

The only real downside to "Highest Beauty" is its unfortunate choice of lyrical content. While there are some notable exceptions, the majority of the lyrics seem like they belong on an AFI or My Chemical Romance album instead of from a Swedish death metal outfit. Each song is very "Emo" oriented, focusing on how everything is a big spiraling abyss of spiraling darkness that just won’t stop spiraling ever further downward into a whirlwind of razor blade producing despair. Thankfully, the growls are so guttural and intense that the lyrics are mostly unintelligible unless the CD insert is actually cracked open.

Some critics of "Highest Beauty" have noted a similarity in style between In Thy Dreams and At The Gates, claiming that the similarities are numerous enough to propose blatant plagiarism. Comparing In Thy Dreams to At The Gates is a moderately accurate parallel, as they are in the same genre and do have similar guitar styles (and at one point Lindfors does actually scream "Go!," like the now classic beginning to At The Gate's album "Slaughter of the Soul"), however In Thy Dreams never fluctuates from unstoppable death metal like At The Gates has a tendency to do, and the vocals are clearly distinguishable from one another.

"Highest Beauty" sets out to give it's listeners an uncompromisingly brutal death metal experience second to none, and it undeniably succeeds.

Highs: Pulse pounding, heart ripping death metal that never gets repetitive

Lows: A short run time and embarrasing emo lyrics.

Bottom line: Delivers an uncompromisingly brutal death metal experience.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)