Released: 2004, Century Media
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Let’s all say it together…ready?...one, two, three,…”ALBUM OF THE YEAR!!!” Finally moving away from the dungeons and dragons nonsense that plagued 2002’s DRAGONSLAYER and to a lesser extent, last year’s EVILIZED, THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL sees Dream Evil embracing good old-fashioned metal. As a child of the 80s, this is the style of music that I grew up with and that has made me into the metal maniac I still am today. Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Scorpions, Accept, Europe…these were (and are) bands that influenced an entire generation—MY generation! Dream Evil embraces those influences with vigor and plain old fun making this CD a real treat to listen to.
With enough bravado to shame Manowar, the title track kicks off with Niklas Islfeldt screaming, “METAAAAAAAAAAAL!” The song features lyrics like, “Don’t need a flashy house, no car or ugly wife” and other gems that boast the power and freedom of being a metalhead in this cold, cruel world. Gus G.’s solo here is something else and he is, in fact, the real star of this record. The guitarwork is absolutely stunning and with about 800 solos found here, it is a six-string fan’s wet dream. His playing on the title track, “No Way,” “Let’s Make Rock” and the intro to “Unbreakable Chain” are simply breathtaking, with riffs that are both technical and infectious. Isfeldt’s impressive range is also utilized to full effect. “Into The Moonlight” and “The Sledge” are great mid-tempo numbers, while the balladry of “Unbreakable Chain” and the power of “Let’s Make Rock” showcase one of metal’s strongest singers. Andy Alkman, vocalist of a band called Hellfueled (Nordstrom’s latest production), even does a bang-on Ozzy impression during the lead in to the chorus of “No Way!” Snowy Shaw’s hard-hitting metal drumming style is felt all over these songs, too. There is some serious double-bass at the end of “M.O.M.” and the middle section of the title track is just pulverizing. Peter Stalfors’ bass perfectly complements Shaw on “M.O.M.” and “Into The Moonlight” to create a jarring rhythm section. The recipe would not be complete without the stellar production of Fredrik Nordstrom. Once again recorded at his Studio Fredman in Gothenburg, Sweden, Nordstrom has taken his own love of 80s music and mixed this album to all the highs that made that music great. Soaring guitar solos, pounding drums, a little keyboard here and there…this is a rich, thick production done by a person who has honed his skills on some of the biggest metal releases of the last ten years. As far as songwriting goes, this is a band effort and despite the endearingly cheesy lyrics, everything is in place and constructed by some veteran musicians who know their craft. EVERY SINGLE SONG is a headbanging, fist-pounding anthem filled with memorable choruses that will be in your head for weeks.
The CD features a killer video of the title track that is directed by esteemed videographer, Patric Ullaeus. Snowy Shaw looks like he fell right out a Mad Max movie while the rest of the band circles around this wasteland setting. There’s even a sky-bound god who does the spoken parts! The first pressing of the CD also comes packaged with a one hour DVD chronicling the recording the album.
This is by no means an oldies band or music that is filled with “lick my love pump” clichés. Like Three Inches of Blood, Dream Evil embraces the good parts of 80s metal and mixes them with modern power metal to create a brilliant hybrid of killer tunes that will appeal to any metal fan who likes melody, good songwriting and excellent playing. School is in and THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL is the first assignment!
KILLER KUTS: ALL!!!