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Spellbound Dazzle - "Unreal Fairy Tales" (CD)

Spellbound Dazzle - "Unreal Fairy Tales" CD cover image

"Unreal Fairy Tales" track listing:

1. Intro
2. Goodbye My Love 1
3. The Foolin' Of Each Other
4. SBD
5. So Close
6. Monster
7. In My Room
8. Rullo
9. Spaceman
10. W.I.T.M. (When I Touch Myself)
11. Ruska
12. Outro

Reviewed by on February 15, 2011

"'Unreal Fairy Tales' is the true story of a band that defies genre to create a uniquely moving musical experience."

If it's variety you're looking for, Spellbound Dazzle's debut disc, "Unreal Fairy Tales," has plenty of it. In the space of 48 minutes, the band offers up everything from spaghetti western-style Spanish guitar to hip-hop turntable scratch and an accordion part that wouldn't be out of place in a Parisian cafe — in addition to grinding guitars and Eastern European cadences reminiscent of System of a Down.

The Eastern European vibe comes naturally. Brothers Kreso and Branko Stenkovic are originally from Croatia, and songs like "So Close" have a distinctly European vibe, even before you get to the accordion part at the end. The song also seems to reflect their exodus from their homeland (they now reside in Italy), with the sounds of sirens and chaos in the trance-like middle section. "Ruska" also reflects the band's Eastern European roots.

"Goodbye My Love" blends Bryan Adams-style love balladry with a System of a Down-style speedy chorus to great effect, with plenty of chugging guitars. Meanwhile, American funk rock makes its way into "W.I.T.M.S. (When I Touch Myself)," with an instrumental break that flirts with James Brown sounds.

Instrumentally, the band is spot-on, with some great guitar-and-drum interplay on "Spaceman." Songs like "In My Room" dispense with the genre-bending, but feature an equally lush approach, with Kreso Stenkovic's vocals standing out.

It's a gutsy move to try and pull of a "kitchen sink" approach on an album like this, but Spellbound Dazzle pulls it off on every track. "Unreal Fairy Tales" is the true story of a band that defies genre to create a uniquely moving musical experience.

Highs: "Spaceman," "So Close" and "Goodbye My Love"

Lows: A couple of tracks drag on just a smidgen too long.

Bottom line: An excellent genre-bending alt-metal album.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 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)