Dream the Electric Sleep

Heretics

Written by: BV on 30/01/2014 18:51:10

I’ve found myself growing increasingly skeptical in recent times. More often than I’d like, I get bombarbed with press-releases claiming a band to be out of this world, ‘genre-bending’ and what not. What I have yet to see, or rather hear, is a band that can actually live up to the very hype that precedes virtually every listening experience I’ve had as a reviewer up to this date. Granted, there are exceptions here and there but in general, I’d say that press releases are never much to go by. The newest release from the Kentucky based prog-rock trio Dream the Electric Sleep, “Heretics”, which is meant to follow up on their critically acclaimed debut album “Lost and Gone Forever”, is no real exception here as I am once again greeted by a press release full of marvelous tales of glory – and, of course, quotes from previous reviews of their debut album which I can honestly say are much more relevant.

As I may already have blurted out, I’ve found myself right in the center of one those far-too hyped releases whilst listening to “Heretics”, the somewhat awaited sophomore effort from modern-day prog-rockers Dream the Electric Sleep. As opening track “Heretics” blasts through my speakers I’m impressed, but I’m not exactly blown away. The grandiose, almost ludicrously lush-sounding soundscape plays directly into an expected prog-rock soundscape. What I don’t get from it however, is the so-called transcendence of genres. To me, this is just straight-up prog-rock in all its lengthy, somewhat complicated and lush glory.

However, it is possible to be fed up with a prog-rock album – in fact it’s a recurring risk of the genre as the albums really have to reel you in at that ever-so-important first listen. – Otherwise it has done little more than set itself up for a future of sporadic, somewhat unimpressed listens. How fair this is, is of course an entirely different matter, but the fact remains that few people truly take the time to give a 70+ minute long album more than a few spins if they’re not immediately into it. As such, I found myself at odds with the album as I go through tracks like “To Love is to Leave”– which nearly reaches epic proportions as the hauntingly beautiful guitar solo kicks in.

However, with that said, both that track as well as others like “Utopic” and “The Name You Fear” are beautifully orchestrated, albeit far too long tracks when taking their dynamic changes into the overall equation. As some readers might know, I do have an affinity towards lengthy tracks, both of a repetitive nature but also of the grand, sort of constantly changing kind. Therefore, one can assume that it does not bode well when I bestow upon you, the fact that I have quite the hard time getting through the album in its entirety in one sitting. It has been done, but it was a challenge nonetheless, as the songs simply seem far too grand for their own good – effectively deflating the very pomp and circumstance that the grand arrangements are meant to build up. The spark is simply missing from what could have been an absolutely massive listening experience.

Redeeming factors are, of course, present and tracks like “Ashes Fall” and “To Love is to Leave” contribute to the album still maintaining a sort of glimpse at a great sonic experience. Alas, the massive arrangements generally fail to sway me for extended periods of time, leading me to conclude that while “Heretics” is an alright listening experience, it is somewhat of a long way off from being in the same league as its critically acclaimed predecessor.

7

Download: To Love is to Leave, Ashes Fall
For the fans of: Porcupine Tree, The Von Hertzen Brothers, King Crimson
Listen: Facebook

Release date 31.01.2014
Self-released


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