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Renegade Ride - "Dream Machine" (CD)

Renegade Ride - "Dream Machine" CD cover image

"Dream Machine" track listing:

1. Stars (4:01)
2. Dream Machine (4:15)
3. Burnin' Up Inside (4:19)
4. Absolution of Growth (3:39)
5. Shoot Me Down (3:35)
6. Break Me To Pieces (4:08)
7. Crusader (3:23)
8. Close Your Eyes (4:40)
9. World Without Soul (3:24)
10. Requiem (5:37)

Reviewed by on October 15, 2009

"If you’re looking for something new and interesting in the way of metal or hard rock, you might as well keep on looking."

One thing I’ve learned in reviewing so much European metal is that there’s a big difference between what some countries call metal. Some, like Germany, have provided listeners with some quality metal acts, while others, like Italy, rely heavily on glam melodies and shreds, and skate the line between what is considered metal and mainstream by today’s standards. In the case of Finland’s Renegade Ride though, to call them metal is ludicrous.

Sure, they quote some iconic influences like Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin, but even at their heaviest, they sound about as heavy as Foo Fighters. The rest of their sound is so much like Dave Matthews Band that they really would make an excellent DMB cover band.

To call Jaakki Latva-Pukkila’s vocals mellow is an understatement. They aren’t exactly what you’d call melodic, but they serve as the glue that holds the tracks together on "Dream Machine." Blending acoustic and electric guitars with alternating pop and funk-infused southern rock makes for some interesting twists that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. The title track is one of those songs that would be good to hear on the morning commute, but the rest is more the chill out before bed style.

There are a few brief moments of pretty good guitar work, such as a snippet in "Absolution of Growth," but overall the tunes are formulaic and pretty lackluster. "Shoot Me Down" has a lot of potential, but it begs for some double kick bass drum and grittier vocals.

About the only track I can recommend is the closer "Requiem." No, it’s not metal, but it has a good intro with a capella vocals that segue into a gritty guitar and a heavy bass riff. Though the bass gets covered up during most of the songs, it actually is the highlight of this piece, with some funky southern rock lines that mainstream fans will appreciate.

If you’re looking for something new and interesting in the way of metal or hard rock, you might as well keep on looking. But if you’re a closet Dave Matthews Band freak, or like the occasional break from the heavier sounds of most metal, you could do worse.

Highs: The occasional funky southern rock bass riff gives depth to this otherwise mellow compilation.

Lows: There’s nothing edgy about this album, and the vocals are so mellow it’s sometimes painful.

Bottom line: If you’re a Dave Matthews fan, this is probably right up your alley, but if you only have a palate for metal, this is one to skip.

Rated 2 out of 5 skulls
2 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)