Wednesday, November 14, 2012

EP Review - Desolate Dreams by Desolate Dreams

     Throughout this whole year, I've heard quite a bit about the progressive metal scene. It has been booming for quite some time, with the explosions of "djent" bands and instrumental creations left and right. To be quite honest, it just seems like you can only find less than a handful of quality projects in the genre. With this said, you could imagine the look on my face when I read a review request for another "progressive metal" band. Let me just say that I'm just tired of so many bands trying to do the same thing and failing to execute the style they play. Also, djent isn't a genre. Plain and simple. People tend to use it as such though, but that is a different argument for a different day. I decided to just take the plunge and see what kind of mess I was going to get myself into. Right now I just want to completely kick myself for my judgmental actions. This EP by Desolate Dreams is absolutely amazing to listen to.

     Desolate Dreams is an ethereal experience. From start to finish you really feel like you're taking a journey of sorts. I'm not sure what kind of journey, as I'd say that Desolate Dreams lets you figure that out on your own. Every track can be interpreted however you want it to be. "The Burning Leaves" slowly brings you into an atmospheric state, kind of like a sleep, that soon pushes you into the middle of a story. Being purely instrumental, you have free reign to put yourself into the music however you want to, as mentioned before. "The Burning Leaves" sweeps through faster than you realize, and sets you into "I'm On A Boat". If you dig acoustic work, you'll love the introduction to this track. The key player is the guitar, which is a usual occurrence when it comes to instrumental albums. After a somewhat steady and slow moving beginning, everything takes off. I'm reminded immediately of Chimp Spanner when listening to some of the guitar work, as it has that tone that gives it a cloud-like feeling. The accompaniment of piano really accentuates this piece even more. As I've said before, the atmosphere is beautiful, especially with the addition of synths in the background. You won't find yourself getting dull, even with this track clocking in at almost 8 minutes.

     "The Chinese Garden" thrusts a bit more power into the air. Again, the story is powerful and fulfilling to listen to. Further along, you feel yourself being propelled to the past with some cool progressive rock riffs. This is followed by a keyboard solo by Ben Eames, which creates another vision of music from the past. I kind of felt like I was in the 80's for a bit there. Although it doesn't thrust you into the scheme of things as much as "I'm On A Boat" does, it is still a powerful and moving track in its own right. "The Spider's Nest" is a short 2 and half minute bout that sets you up for the next track, "Tempest". "Tempest" starts off in a gentle state, with some not-so-casual-but-not-so-complicated guitar work that soon transforms into what the song title suggests, a tempest of sorts. The transformation is done well as the intensity continues to build over time and the guitar work taking new directions before things start to get stale. I really admire Jake Woodward and the effort he put into this entire EP so far. You don't get that "same ole progressive metals" feel from it, even if some parts are influenced by such. "Idle Growth" is another short, gentle passage that inserts more than just one emotion into your brain. "ffopir!" seems to pick up a bit from "Idle Growth" but it has a cleaner tone to it. It isn't as muddled. I felt like this song was preparing me for a resolution, as it seemed to revisit the same kind of tone from "I'm On A Boat" yet it was near the end of the journey. This EP ends up being like quite a few others I've seen this year; one of those EPs where you have to press play again.

     This EP is grand, outstanding, well composed, and just darn great listen. Progressive instrumental is a new trend and there are so many artists and bands trying to make a name for themselves in such a crowded area that it is hard to pick and choose the ones that actually stand out more than others. Desolate Dreams does just that with me. This EP rivals other great EPs released this year such as Chimp Spanner's All Roads Lead Here, the Intervals In Time, and even Mendel's Subliminal Colors full length album. So you can be sure to see this EP on the tops of our lists, especially in the progressive metal category. Check out the link below to stream it and make your own decision about it if you don't believe me. I'm hoping to see more work from Desolate Dreams in the future. Oh, and the artwork is sweet too.

Release Date - November 3rd, 2012
Website -

Track Listing

1. The Burning Leaves
2. I'm On A Boat
3. The Chinese Garden (featuring Ben Eames)
4. The Spider's Nest

5. Tempest
6. Idle Growth
7. ffopir!


Jake Woodward: Composition, guitar, engineer, producer 
Ronnie Woodward: Drum programming 
Ben Eames: Keyboard solo on The Chinese Garden

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