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Dreaming Dead - "Within One" (CD)

Dreaming Dead - "Within One" CD cover image

"Within One" track listing:

1. Stairs Into the Vortex (4:25)
2. Within One (4:34)
3. Putrid Is the Sky (7:04)
4. Shadows in the Dark (4:36)
5. Cursed (4:31)
6. War Machine (4:27)
7. Perpetual Pretext (4:15)
8. Manslaughter (7:44)

Reviewed by on July 6, 2009

"Their debut album 'Within One' shows a lot of talent and frequently ignores the boundaries between the different sub-genres to produce the sound they want without regard to convention."

For a newly formed and lesser known band, Dreaming Dead has already been making a pretty big name for themselves. They frequently break boundaries in metal, starting most noticeably with their line-up. Dreaming Dead is one of the few metal bands to have an equal number of male and female members, as well as to be fronted by a woman who uses harsh vocals. Their debut album, “Within One,” shows a lot of talent and frequently ignores the boundaries between the different sub-genres to produce the sound they want without regard to convention.

Front woman Elizabeth Schall has quite a diverse vocal range, which she puts to good use throughout the album. Most of the vocals have the slightly higher pitched shriek effect, made famous by Dani Filth, but there are several other styles utilized as well. Every now and again the vocals dip into a much deeper and more guttural growl more reminiscent of the all-female band Astarte. Anyone who doesn’t enjoy the “beauty and the beast” mixture has nothing to fear from the album, as there are no clean female vocals to be heard on “Within One.” Rounding out the vocal work is also a single instance of a clean male chanting in the background, which brings to mind some of the works of Dimmu Borgir.

Based on the band comparisons that have already been made, it should be clear that Dreaming Dead starts with a solid of base of the melodic style of black metal. While there are a few samples used, the band skips over the keyboards altogether to have a more heavy and guitar-driven sound. Quite a bit of the guitar work leaves the black metal style behind, however, and heads straight for thrash territory. The songs “Stairs Into the Vortex” and “Shadows in the Dark” are probably the best examples, as some of the shredding going on in those tracks is pretty stunning. The overall heaviness and occasionally deeper vocals also give a recurring death metal feel. When the band feels like giving the audience a breather, they’ll go with a melodic interlude, such as the opening to the track “Putrid is the Sky,” which gives off a much more progressive and somewhat mystical feel.

The wide array of styles presented in “Within One” provides for an overall satisfying listen, but it does leave Dreaming Dead bereft of an iconic and easily recognizable sound. There are times when the band would definitely benefit from a greater uniformity in their music, as the changes between styles occasionally become a little convoluted. They never truly end up sounding like a copy of any other band, but there are enough heavy influences from other acts that it would be hard to pick out a Dreaming Dead song without thinking of other black or death metal bands first.

“Within One” is one of the better blackened death metal debuts in recent memory and hopefully heralds a band that is going to be a major driving force in the scene for some time to come. The black metal aspects should create a big appeal for fans of Dimmu Borgir and earlier Cradle of Filth, while the thrash elements make it an essential album to own for fans of Dragonlord.

Highs: Great vocal range, nice thrashy guitar work

Lows: Lack of uniformity in the music leaves the album without a unified sound

Bottom line: A very promising blackened death metal debut with heavy thrash elements

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)