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Sumerlands: Dreamkiller

Everything old is new again. A tale as old as time and a tradition unlike any other. We've come full circle, my friends. Traditional Metal is making a comeback these days thanks to a sizable influx of young, hungry, and bearded young acts from across the globe. The New Wave of Traditional Heavy Metal (TM), or NWOTHM if you want to ape a previous movement even more, sounds as though it were ripped straight from the early 80's with plenty of whips and chains to spare. Sumerlands' second full length release, Dreamkiller is no different, but actually infuses their sound with a ton of little neon pink VHS scan lines that the original metal scene never had to make it feel even more nostalgic than it has any right to. Overall, it works fantastically.

The songs are still mostly riff based, and old school/traditional in their delivery. A bit like early Queensryche or Jag Panzer but there's a touch of Bloodsport or Rocky 4 training montage AOR to be had in a handful of tracks as well, which keeps things varied and interesting. This reviewer absolutely prefers the heavier and more upbeat songs on here, but there's no real stinkers. Album opener "Twilight Points the Way" is probably the best track on the album, with it's stellar main riff, subtle keys, and sublime leads. The Sumerlands boys definitely knew what they were doing opening the album with this monster. The title track is a speedster and another highlight in a similar vein. "Night Ride" on the other hand literally sounds like a track you'd hear in a cheesy action flick from the 80's right before the climax and the hero character is searching for meaning in his life. It's a whole vibe, as the kids would say these days.

The band is on fire throughout the album. Instrumentally it's hard to find a single complaint really. Vocally, I'm not a giant fan of the growing trend in these kinds of bands with the super nasal delivery drenched in reverb thing. Brendan Radigan is a good vocalist, and does a good job here, so It's clearly a personal tick that just keeps popping up for me. And, I suppose I must confess that the reverb actually fits thematically with the whole Mad Maxian vibe pulsating from the album. So, if you are into that kind of stuff, just ignore this last paragraph or so.

Continuing with the standout tracks, while the slower and moodier tracks are good I do feel the band is much better at letting the riffs and attitude doing the talking. Of 8 tracks (I love a good shorter album, by the way), 3 or 4 or them are what I would consider slow to mid paced, which I do believe hamstrings the album a bit. Knock one of those out, give me another anthemic stormer and I'd be pleased as punch.

Dreamkiller is a great record and one that gets its hooks in you early. It's an album that makes you feel nostalgic for a period of time that the dudes in this band weren't even largely alive for, which is certainly a feat. This kind of stuff is just so perfect for the geeky fanbase of traditional and epic metal that it fits like a glove. You probably already know if you are going to be into this one by now, but if you are on the fence at all, make sure you strap into your trans am (or 2020's equivalent) and let this one rip full blast.

1. Twilight Points the Way
2. Heavens Above
3. Dreamkiller
4. Night Ride
5. Edge of the Knife
6. Force of a Storm
7. The Savior's Lie
8. Death to Mercy

Added: February 19th 2023
Reviewer: Brandon Miles
Related Link: Band @ Bandcamp
Hits: 241
Language: english

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