Released: 2001, Lion Music
Ok. For anyone who doesn’t like ballads please disregard this review. Now for all of you that are still here, who I assume are interested in metal ballads, DREAM BALLADS is a compilation of Lion Music which brings together some of their best acts to showcase their more melodic sides. This CD contains 15 tracks of laid back tunes which encompass everything from simple acoustic guitar and vocals, to full bands to instrumentals. Rolf Munkes opens the disc with his track "The Man Who Learned to Fly" which can be found on his CD NO MORE OBSCURITY. This is one of the vocal and acoustic guitar tracks on the release and is one of the highlights of the CD. Munkes also shows up on the track "Spread My Wings" from supergroup Empire. Empire is a project of Neil Murray, Lance King, Mark Boals, Anders Johansson, Gerald Kloos and Don Airey. I haven’t heard this bands debut release HYPNOTICA. but having listened to this song I have to track it down. Baltimoore chimes in with their song "Redemption" from the album ORIGINAL SIN. Vocalist Bjorn Lodin has a great soulful and raspy voice which fits perfectly with this type of music. Lars Eric Mattson is all over this CD being involved with at least 5 of the 15 songs. He has both instrumentals from his solo CDs and songs from his groups Astral Groove, Vision and Mattsson. One of the best of the songs he lends to the compilation is "Don’t Lose Your Patience" from his Mattsson CD. This man definitely has a gift for creating great melodic pieces. Some of the other highlights of the CD are "Always, All Ways" from Arizona band Jarra and "Driven to Insanity" by Swedish group Winterlong.
I know that ballads are looked upon unfavourably by some metal fans. They are seen as being weak and commercial. I am not one of those people. To me a ballad in the right place on a CD can give it an added dimension and make a heavy Cd heavier. Dream Ballads is a collection of many of these types of songs. Some stand on their own, others make the originating CDs stronger by varying the content. Whatever the case, fans of the ballad should definitely check out these 15 songs.