Released: 2010, Century Media
So, Dream Evil return with their first album in four years, IN THE NIGHT also being their fifth album overall. We’ve come to expect hard rocking tunes from the fun-loving Swedes led by the indefatigable Fredrik Nordstrom and given full voice by Nick Isfeldt. Markus Black is the only casualty of the intervening four years; his six-string duties are now taken over by Daniel Varghamne, but there is none of the drama that existed before 2006’s UNITED came out, when stalwarts Gus G and Snowy Shaw left the band, and when Nick Isfeldt and bassist Peter Stalfors left and rejoined the band in quick succession.
Snowy Shaw’s departure was widely credited as being the reason for the tight and focused songwriting on UNITED, and the style on IN THE NIGHT remains much the same. Midpaced power/heavy metal so beloved by familiar names like Judas Priest, Primal Fear, Hammerfall, Edguy etc. The imbalance and inconsistency of THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL is avoided, and it seems like this is a conscious decision by the band to present a more coherent sound.
Unfortunately, this impacts upon the overall spontaneity of the record. THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL had its flaws, granted, but you always knew it was Dream Evil. IN THE NIGHT, while being a good decent piece of modern heavy metal, doesn’t grasp the imagination the way earlier efforts did. The riffs are heavy, but safe. The vocals are competent, but lack the bombast and sheer over-the-top-ness that I sort of want to see in a power metal band, especially one like Dream Evil. The ‘catchiness’ factor and memorable choruses quotient (‘Immortal’ and ‘Mean Machine’ being examples of long, drawn-out choruses) has suffered somewhat as well, although that might be down to the band adopting a darker style in recent years. The lyrics are subpar as usual (their odes to heavy metal will not compare to ‘March of the Metallians’), although the intentionally/ironically named ‘The Ballad’ is bound to get a lot of sing-alongs if this ever becomes a live favourite. Soaring piano/synth + “We are made of metal/Whoa-oh/Our hearts are made of steel/Even if we’re stained with blood/You know/We got that sex appeal” = sheer cheesy awesomeness!
Bottom line is this isn’t the worst power metal record you’ll ever hear in your life, but unless you’re a fan of the band or the genre, there won’t be too much here for you. It’s decent, it’s Dream Evil, and if you intend on seeing them on tour soon and want to learn the new songs, get IN THE NIGHT.