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Lucid Dreams: Build And Destroy

Early in 2014 my esteemed colleague Peter Pardo was 'bowled over' in his review of the debut album from Norway's Lucid Dreams, suggesting a more progressive Winger, Dokken or White Lion as a comparison. With the impossible to stop merry-go-round of music ever on the turn, I never did catch up with that debut, but the band name was stored away (making sure not to confuse them with Italy's Lucid Dream (singular)) in the memory banks for future investigation. Hence my delight, followed by confusion and then delight once more when album number two, Build & Destroy, from this sextet landed at my humble abode for review.

So why that confusion? Well, because the ever reliable Mr Pardo's suggested influence list for this band appeared well off the mark, a keen mix of power metal, US classic metal and a small slice of prog what rushed out of the speakers by way of introduction. A little investigatory work reveals that my surprise was intended, Lucid Dreams making a concerted effort to move things in a heavier direction and away from the out and out 80s sheen they polished up before. I'm delighted (as you'll have gathered) to say that the results are as impressive as the band's first effort seems to have been, if remarkably different. Surprisingly the line-up has remained constant over the years (although the band's website finds them hunting for a new vocalist since B&D was released…), making the shift of gears an even more impressive feat; singer Freddy Vain (or Frederik Sindsen to his friends) easily possessing the power and bite to drive on the riff laden fare. Those excellent guitar contributions are provided by Henrik Antonsson and Rune Gutuen, the pair a solid proposition capable of dazzling and exciting at will, while the keyboards of Thorleif Ostmoe add a welcome progressive sprinkle to the mix.

Think Vicious Rumors (with less guitar histrionics), or Reverence spiced with hints of Pagan's Mind and a few nods to the sound the fed the Lucid Dreams debut – a few George Lynch like stabs added for flavour – and you won't be far away. The concoction works a treat, "Eye Of The Storm" having the class to segue from full on gallops to guitar fuelled fury, while "Shanghai Cyanide" brings keys more to the fore, although the six-string work hardly take a back seat. "Wings Of The Night" on the other hand proves Lucid Dreams can hit with real intensity without simply falling into the cliched traps many Euro metal acts can, a classy US edge often found in the way the riffs bite and the drums ease off from full on double kick assaults. Something "Hellbound" confirms in fine style, an ability to alter the dynamics through interesting pacing a rare treat as Vain's vocals continue to hit the spot and fit this style like a glove (it's a shame he's moved on). And I haven't even mentioned the most memorable cut on the album, "Fear No Evil", where drummer Rune Hagen and bassist Jan-Erik Lyso are allowed to shine courtesy of the cracking mix from Fredrik Nordström (Dark Tranquility, Hammerfall, Opeth, In Flames and too many others to mention).

Strangely enough I'm even more intrigued to hear this band's debut now, the utterly convincing nature of the forceful, but varied metal housed on Build And Destroy making me keen to know if this band can simply master anything they turn their hand to. Either way, album number two is a triumph and Lucid Dreams are a band that shouldn't be left as the secret they currently are. Build & Destroy is way too good for that to be its fate.

Track Listing
1. Wings of the Night
2. Hellbound
3. Fear No Evil
4. Absence of Innocence
5. Build and Destroy
6. High Heeled Devil
7. Shanghai Cyanide
8. Eye of the Storm

Added: April 10th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Lucid Dreams online
Hits: 2395
Language: english

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