Thursday, May 18, 2017

End of The Dream - Until You Break (2017)

The Netherlands seems to have a never ending supply of female fronted symphonic metal bands, they literally pop up everywhere you look. Everything from Epica, Within Temptation, After Forever, Delain, Stream of Passion, and ReVamp, this country is an endless well of symphonic goodness. Now we can add End of The Dream to that group, a band that has been active for about 4 years, but have made good use with their time so far. Their 2015 debut "All I Am" gave the band some good reputation early on, but the second album will define if this band is something we should look out for in the future, or leave behind in the dust.

Some big drums open up the title track, with singer Micky Huiijsmans entering shortly in a song that is pretty standard stuff, but it does set the bar nicely, giving you enough hints on what to expect from the rest of the album. The sound has a lot of Within Temptation in it, so it is far from the most original you will ever hear, but when the heavier guitars enter in the following song "Who Do You Think You Are", the quality instantly lifts to a new level. It does not happen nearly enough though, which is of course a shame, because the heavier riffs give a sense of the now disbanded ReVamp, a band I really miss.

It is definitely obvious that this band knows how to write some captivating melodies that fits with the sound landscape, memorable songs that take short time to memorize. And most of the songs also have an epic vein added, which fits Micky's range very nicely. There is a lot of emotions behind that voice, and those emotions comes out really well in several songs like "In My Hands" and "Erase Me", making Micky a real strength to the band. It just makes me wonder how many great female vocalists there really are in the land of tulips and windmills, they just keep popping up.

In general this is all nice and dandy, but I do miss some meat on the bone. I am not talking about the originality issues here, those are pretty small and can easily be over looked, the real issue is that "Until You Break" feels like an empty house, well built and looks good from the outside, but go inside and you will not find much content. It is mostly the instruments that are to blame here, they are simply not sticking out in any particular way, which forces the songs to rely a lot on the vocals. This is not too uncommon in symphonic metal, unfortunately.

I don't know man, this is a hard album to set a score on, because it has something that makes it quite enjoyable, but at the same time, it just feels hollow. To me, this is the perfect "time to time" album, an album that you can listen to once every now and then, but it is not something you would spin around several laps in a row. The potential is there though, the corner stones to build a great album are there, so it is all a matter of picking them up and putting them together. So for now, the dream is definitely not at its end, it might actually only be at the beginning.

Songs worthy of recognition: Who Do You Think You Are, Erase Me, In My Hands

Rating: 6,5/10 Poisons

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