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Dream Evil: The Book of Heavy Metal

From the first second of Dream Evil's latest CD, I knew I didn't want to hear any more. But I have a job to do and an open mind so I kept on listening. The Book of Heavy Metal opens with vocalist Niklas Isfeldt's a cappella scream of "metalllll!!!" (with more exclamations but you get the idea) before the rest of the band kicks in with the main riff of the title track. Throughout the song and the remainder of the CD, the listener is assaulted with recycled riffs from the glory days of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and Dio. Speaking of which, Dream Evil allegedly took their moniker from Dio's 1987 album of the same name. Perhaps that was their first mistake as Dream Evil wasn't a great Dio album to begin with.

All that aside, the problem with Dream Evil's latest CD is that it's just too silly. Evidently a love letter to all things heavy metal, the thematically linked album dwells on the goofiest clichés that killed the genre in the first place. Riffs that sound a tad too familiar are plied over a torrent of lyrics that read as if they were written for and by fourteen year olds. Sample chorus from "Let's Make Rock" (yes, that's the name of the song): "Let's make rock/What are you waiting for/Let's make rock/We're gonna give you more". Twisted Sister once got away with a song entitled "S.M.F." and Dream Evil try their hand with an acronym called "M.O.M." (man or mouse).

The frustrating thing about this entire travesty is that the band are not without talent. Niklas Isfeldt does bear a certain similarity to Bruce Dickinson at times. Lead guitarists Gus G and Fredrik Nordstrom also admirably lead the metal charge the way Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing did in the 80s with Judas Priest. But with so many great underground metal bands these days writing with intelligence and wit (see Threshold, Evergrey and Opeth), Dream Evil's juvenile attempt is entirely superfluous. Perhaps Dream Evil are trying to be funny and I just don't get the irony. Maybe they took Spinal Tap entirely too seriously. What's baffling is that the band apparently have a sizeable fan following. Sorry fellas, maybe I'm just confused but in the book of heavy metal, you'll likely remain a footnote.

Track Listing

  1. The Book of Heavy Metal (March of the Metallians) (5:25)
  2. Into the Moonlight (4:20)
  3. The Sledge (2:59)
  4. No Way (3:19)
  5. Crusaders' Anthem (4:21)
  6. Let's Make Rock (4:03)
  7. Tired (3:49)
  8. Chosen Twice (4:22)
  9. M.O.M. (3:33)
  10. The Mirror (3:46)
  11. Only for the Night (4:11)
  12. Unbreakable Chain (5:51)

Total Time 50:07

Added: September 9th 2004
Reviewer: Steve Pettengill
Related Link: Official Dream Evil Homepage
Hits: 3541
Language: english

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Dream Evil: The Book of Heavy Metal
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2004-09-09 17:06:36
My Score:

The point that many people miss about The Book Of Heavy Metal is that it is a deliberate spoof!

Frederik Nordström is Dream Evil's band leader, and has been the producer for some of the bigger Nordic bands, like Opeth and Hammerfall. His Studio Fredman has hosted such heavy metal luminaries as Arch Enemy, In Flames, Dimmu Borgir, Tad Morose and Elvenking – among many others. In fact Studio Fredman has become an icon of prestige in Gothenburg, the metal 'Jerusalem' of the colder climes.

In a conversation with Frederik we learned that he is always telling the bands he works with that "According to The Book Of Heavy Metal..." specific elements need to be introduced at various points in the music. By this, he means that according to accepted convention in the world of metal, there needs to be (say) a power ballad here, a guitar solo there, a 3-part vocal harmony in this spot, not that one, and so on.

So - as an exercise in satire, Dream Evil applied all of these clichés to one album called – yup – The Book Of Heavy Metal.

The band's name is taken from the title of a Dio album, and this is their 3rd CD. The first two received favorable acclaim, and their Evilized went onto the top-20-of-2003 lists of many metal writers. The humorous Evilized put an interesting light-hearted spin on metal including self consciously silly lyrics that are a reflection of Nordström's irrepressible sense of humor. And in the same vein, The Book Of Heavy Metal is an interesting metal album with excellent playing, superb production and mixing, memorable melodies, and of course, it is drenched with all those formulaic elements that make metal as good or as bad as it can be. It's a send-up, folks. It's very well made parody, a take-off … but no question about it, that fact should have been made far more obvious in the overall CD package.

Think of it this way: This album is to metal what James Bond is to espionage movies. It isn't meant to be taken that seriously – don't analyze it, just wallow in it!

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