Released: 2004, Sound Riot Records
Holy generic power metal Batman!
Norway’s Memorized Dreams spent 5 years together before recording and releasing THEATER OF LIFE in 2004 on Sound Riot Records. As can be expected for a debut release, things are rather shakey but many times the band doesn’t even feel comfortable in its own shoes.
Memorized Dreams play “light” power metal with a lot of poppy song structures and melodies. A fair amount of double bass and keyboards are present as well, usually playing into what you’d expect from the bands influenced by Helloween, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica etc. The main difference one could say is the slightly rougher vocal approach of Terje Harøy who, often times, isn’t as clean in his approach as many other power metal singers. Terje’s main problem, and the band’s biggest drawback, is that he just isn’t that accomplished of a singer. Many times his vocals are shakey and when he tries to do a little bit more singing he sounds out of touch with the rest of the song, unfortunately it makes things sound more unprofessional than they probably would be with a different vocalist (which is evidenced in “Gates of Heaven” which features Olaf Hayer of Luca Turilli and Dionysus).
As with most power metal albums, THEATER OF LIFE begins with a useless build-up intro that does little to create any tension. In “Cardinal Sin” the album opens up properly. Vocally the song starts off extremely shakey, Terje sounding a bit off key. Musically the song is rather strong, with a lot of bouncing Iron Maiden styled riffing. The all too typical double bass chorus is present here and tends to distract from an, at least, interesting song. “Haloes and Wings” sees the band sounding a little more confident. With a big, meaty riff to open up Terje doesn’t find the need to pull out his clean voice, keeping things a bit more aggressive and a lot more enjoyable.
In “Sea of Oblivion” one sees a male/female duet for a piano based ballad. The song is just about unbearable in its cheese and uninteresting vocal melody. From here on out in songs like “Neverland”, “Revelating Paradise”, “Light Above All”, and “Crimson Dreams” the band fails to grab the listerner’s attention. It’s just one boring riff/melody after another much to the chagrin of the band who can’t seem to do any better. The album becomes an arduous trip, I was just fighting to make it to the end every time I put this album on and I still couldn’t listen to it in one continuous listen.
Memorized Dreams play dull, boring power metal and even the most ardent power metal fans won’t find much to like here either. Hopefully the band either steps up to the plate with a better album next time, or just plain give up because this album is being filed under “better luck next time”.