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Dreadnought - "Bridging Realms" (CD)

Dreadnought - "Bridging Realms" CD cover image

"Bridging Realms" track listing:

1. Ode To Ether
2. Odyssey
3. Minuet De Lune
4. Transpiration
5. Bridging Realms

Reviewed by on August 12, 2015

"Dreadnought is now helpfully standing in a nearby alley trying to get your attention, hoping to hook you up with a syringe full of experimental, progressive metal."

If you were in dire need of an “everything including the kitchen sink” metal fix, Dreadnought is now helpfully standing in a nearby alley trying to get your attention, hoping to hook you up with a syringe full of experimental, progressive metal. Aptly titled, this album bridges the realms between diverse styles that normally wouldn't come within a hundred yards of each other and forces them into direct confrontations.

Although the precise combinations and the times when the heavier parts appear will vary from track to track, opening song “Ode To Ether” really tells you everything you need to know about the album. An ambient intro starts off with loud, suffusing background noise where saxophones (it's prog – of course there's sax) gradually echo out and build up. More instrumental sounds are added in and the music takes a nature-focused turn, almost like something that would be heard while a group of fantasy adventurers traverse the overland map. This morphs into a new age style pagan odyssey before the guitars and harsh, shrieking vocals make their appearance.

Keeping the audience on its toes, these heavy guitars go a stoner doom direction while the vocals are black metal through and through, offering up a diverse combo not readily available elsewhere. Not content to only run concurrently in two opposing directions at once, piano then gets thrown into the mix before the vocals shift into female clean singing. Before long the song has taken another turn into occult rock territory. Unsurprisingly, some truly psychedelic, drugged-out sounds also arrive. All of that is just one song – and at 10 minutes its not even the longest offering on “Bridging Realms.”

If you like your metal sub-genre to be a moving target, these tracks are definitely for you. There are a few times the constant changes don't work, of course, and you end up with an overly messy sound as the elements trip over each other (the shrieking vocals over the chimes with the psychedelic guitars and constant drum beat on the title track, for instance). With incredibly long track lengths, there is a lot of ambient, new age downtime or bouts of smokey lounge music, so you if only came for the metal, you probably won't want to stick around for the full show, either. That being said, anyone who wants their music to ignore boundaries and go wherever it pleases, with some extreme metal sprinkled in along the way, should make a point of picking this one up.

Highs: A prog metal odyssey is awaiting you, covering any and every genre you'd care to name across huge 10+ minute tracks.

Lows: The bizarre mixing of sounds occasionally doesn't work, and there's less heaviness overall than you'd expect.

Bottom line: Genre boundaries? Who needs 'em?

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 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)