Review Summary: A solid debut album that has excellent vocals, guitars, and overall production. The lack of outstanding songs and the presence of a couple bland songs shun away a better rating.
The year was 1999 and Fredrik Nordstrom was looking to start a band of his own. This is the man known for producing such huge melodic death metal acts like At the Gates, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, and Arch Enemey. By the end of the 20th century though, Fredrik decided to start his own group, a power metal group. This wasn't such a far fetched idea as it first seemed since Fredrik produced Hammerfall's Legacy of Kings. So after gathering such musicians as Gus G and Niklas Isfeldt, Dream Evil was born, and soon released their first album Dragon Slayer
From the opener Chasing the Dragon
, the listener can already grasp the immensely cheesy, but awesome, tone of the song. Lyrically, well take a look for yourself.
"We were chasing the dragon
We were searching everywhere In the chase of the dragon
Let the gods lead us there In the chase of the dragon
I sacrifice my blood, in the chase of the dragon!!!"
If you don't like these types of lyrics, than this isn't for you; in fact, the whole genre isn't. Niklas sings the lyrics and portrays a fabulous and uplifting emotion throughout the song to make this a standout tune.
In fact, most of the tones that the songs portray are well done. This has to do with the fact that the instrumentation does an outstanding job. Gus G and Fredrik play fun and catchy riffs like seen on tracks as Chasing the Dragon
, The Chosen Ones
, and Hail to the King
. They play tremendous solos on just about every track, and also keep the rhythm to the songs at the same time. The downside is that some riffs sound bland and boring. For instance Save Us
and The 7th Day
are both boring songs and the guitars are the reason for this because the drums play a secondary role, and the bass is non-existent.
Another stand-out for this album is in the department of vocals. Niklas Isfeldt shows good range and power throughout. Even in the obligatory power ballad Losing You
, Niklas has a vulnerable, but emotional side to his vocals. Add a great instrumentation to the equation, and you have a power metal band performing a ballad that is actually good. Niklas is at his best with the uptempo, frenzy pace of the rest of the album though. Kingdom of the Damned
shows the power in his voice, and Prophecy
shows a little bit of his range. The true treat of the vocals are the backing vocals that are used. For instance, Hail to the King
becomes much more grand with the addition of the backing vocals. No more are the backing vocals used to perfection than in the best track of the album The Chosen Ones
. The vocals (which sound like warriors ready to march out to battle) are used in the extremely epic chorus. The transition of the power of the solo vocals by Niklas, to the backing vocals plus Niklas, add a nice depth that turns the tune into a great power metal track.
This album turns out to be quite a debut overall. Production is high, vocals are well-done, has the mandatory cheesy fantasy lyrics, and its scale is nothing short of being a power metal epic. Downgraded by a few boring tracks and the lack of outstanding tracks, the rating isn't as high as it could have been. If there had only been a couple more songs like Chasing the Dragon
and The Chosen Ones
, this could have been one of the best power metal debuts. Instead, we get a few bland songs, a couple outstanding songs, and a bunch of good songs; but hey, that isn't a bad thing either.