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Dream the Electric Sleep: Heretics

DtES's debut album Lost and Gone Forever was one of my favorite albums of 2011. Their music filled that tough year with some great new prog sounds, from…of all of the places…Kentucky. Lost and Gone Forever did receive international critical acclaim on many webzines. Last year the band won the coveted spot on "Church of Prog" night at RoSFest, (The Rights of Spring Festival in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) and they rocked the stage. This year they return with the long awaited follow – up album Heretics, and they are again poised for greatness.

Heretics features 11 tracks and over 70 minutes of new original material. The album kicks off with a U2/Rush lightning guitar, bass key and drum explosion which ignites the album well. The title track "Heretics" sets a solid tone for the magnificence that is contained throughout this power – driven album. The lyrics and subject matter will push the listener to think as well as listen to the sonic power that this young prog band brings to bear. They add some orchestrations ala the Beatles to augment one of the most powerful tracks they have ever written. Definitely an album highlight and I'm sure a powerful anthem to open live shows.

"Elizabeth" continues the sonic soundscape through half of the track until things slow down and allow the listener to take in the grandeur of the soundscape being created. This track is double the opener in time and expanse. Then several great individual guitar solos take over, with each one growing in power and intensity. I'm sure by now they will have captured both your imagination and attention.

"Utopic" follows closing keys from the last track that will leave you feeling…well…utopic. The guitars that open the track and Matt Page vocals quickly take over the soundscape providing a new direction for the ever evolving soundscape, "She loves her mother. She loves her child. But she's not inclined to stay docile. Raised right in the wrong time. Etiquette decays, norms decline". Powerful lyrics that provide difficult imagery.

"To Love is to Leave" is an over eight minute track that is one of the album's best. It opens with some of Page's best vocals, "What was that you said about the future looking bright? For whom did you think of? Your daughter or your son?" The soundscape ignites with sonic power supporting Page's slow cry of pain and loss. The electric guitar solo that follows is one of the best on the album. This after an excellent acoustic guitar opening the track. But the slow dirge of power electric guitars, bass, and drums returns to close the track strong.

"The Name You Fear" opens like an epic U2 – circa War, barrage of guitars, bass and drums that takes on its own haunting melody as Page raises his voice singing, "How long, how long we wait". This track sounds like a U2 anthem from the past with Page exalting, "Lead this on we're a part of you. Carry us on. Vicarious".

"It Must Taste Good" opens with some "tasty" guitar riffs and drums before the main melody kicks in. Another great U2 – Boy – like anthem featuring Page singing, "Fame breaks the best of us. Trade balance or bust. It must taste good to you. But it's never enough". This is the longest track of the first six at over eight and a half minutes. A solid epic for the ages filled with a course on "Cool Guitar Riffs for the 21st Century".

"I Know What You Are" opens with beautifully played acoustic guitar. Perfect change at what would be the opening of side two of a classic vinyl album. Then the slow electric guitar opening as page sings something that Roger Waters might like, "My colleagues. Stay patiently. Evading. Engagement. With hysteria. Choose your weapons Words and daggers". The keyboard, bass, lead electric and drum soundscape assault following these words is easily one of the best on the album. The haunting and echoing melody will capture you and never let go. Like a Muse opera mixed well with old Pink Floyd. Epic in every way. The album's best track.

With a name like "Fist to Face", you know there will plenty of drum gut punches, but the lyrics provide their own left hooks as well. "Grab a gun you charge. Make these streets run cold with blood. And it's just begun. But you're too large. Has everyone ever understood?" Page sings, "If we take what we want. Won't we be the poorer? But if we make what we want. Won't we take this further?" Solid drums supporting powerful bass and lead electric guitar buzz.

"Lost Our Faith" is a short acoustic track with banjo and Page singing, "Begin with good intentions. Attention to the hopeless. Crusader for the cause. But the cause can cost a lot. And the sense it seems to slip. It slips in what we say. And we lose our way". One of the most powerful messages of the album is encapsulated in this track. I will not spoil the mystery.

"How Long We Wait" opens with a Coldplay like riff and melody which serves as a reminder that this album has much of the sonic power of A Rush of Blood to the Head or X and Y. This track is the longest at just under nine and a half minutes. The slicing guitars and deep keys and orchestration add to the epic power of this masterpiece.

"Ashes Fall" is a U2 power driver full of Page's shouts and some of the album's best lyrics, "When the years are long. And the shifts are small. And the inch is won. But the mountain's tall. See the ocean roar. Feel the waves crash hard. We gave more than we realized. Just to have it all". Deep lyrics signaling the album's final epic message and concept. The musical ending is epic. I will not spoil it here.

Dream the Electric Sleep continues to pour out excellent music befitting their awesome name. This sophomore album follows solidly the precision, originality and excellent playing the band offered on their debut. It is no wonder they were so eagerly booked to RoSFest. Heretics is another solid exhibit of their talent as one of their generation's, and America's best hope to add to the prog archives of the future. Already one of the best albums of the year.

Track Listing:

1. Heretics
2. Elizabeth
3. Utopic
4. To Love is to Leave
5. The Name You Fear
6. It Must Taste Good
7. I Know What You Are
8. Fist to Face
9. Lost Our Faith
10. How Long We Wait
11. Ashes Fall

Added: January 22nd 2014
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
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Hits: 5654
Language: english

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» Reader Comments:

Dream the Electric Sleep: Heretics
Posted by Gordon macklem Jr. on 2014-05-17 16:48:49
My Score:

Just a terrific review. I completely agree , also beautifully written. Thank you. I was one of the few , fortunate souls who got up early to attend the "Church of Prog" to catch DTES 'S set. Matt opened the show with such intensity and innovation , alongside his incredible tone he left us with our mouths wide open and a look of amazement on our faces.A performance not to be forgotten.

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