Review Summary: As far as the genre goes, you could do a lot worse than 'Heartbound'.
Not much more than a year ago, I criticized Dream On, Dreamer’s EP 'Hope' for being generic, and sounding too similar to the competition, despite being a fun overall listen. I went on to say that they could go on to do great things, provided they find a sound more their own. Fast forward to present day in which they have released their debut album 'Heartbound' and you can see their change as a band. But by adding too much, have they distanced themselves even further?
A rundown of Dream On, Dreamer's sound can be described as heavy vocals, cleanly sung choruses, chugging guitars and added synth. They’ve utilized each member more this time around, Michael McLeod gaining more spotlight with his clean vocals and Daniel Jungwirth on keys emphasizing his role by adding synth passages and in some cases, Dubstep inspired breakdowns. An example of this is best found on leading single 'Downfall' which is essentially 4 minutes of metalcore mush. It’s not a bad song, in fact it’s quite catchy, but it tries to be more than it can. The intro sounds more like Emmure than anything and the clean vocals arrive out of nowhere, all the while a drastic overuse of synth is scattered around aimlessly, resulting in a jumbled up breakdown fest. It’s definitely a fun listen, but from a critical viewpoint it’s a horrible mess of a song.
Luckily, the album holds its redeeming tracks. The short introduction of 'I' leads into the fantastic 'Yourself As Someone Else', which played together, create a monster of an opener, showcasing the bands overall talents and song writing abilities. 'A Path of Its Own' doesn’t necessarily do anything out of the ordinary, but it does it well and doesn’t overstay its welcome. Finally, the last two tracks of 'Come Home True Love' and 'Lifestream' end the album on a positive note, respectively.
That leaves the remainder of tracks up for personal outlook. I found most of them to be enjoyable while they lasted, but not very memorable overall. This seems the main problem of most bands in the genre, as they can all play their instruments well (Dream On, Dreamer being no exception) but occasionally fall into the pitfall of not being able to create attention grabbing music.
Considering what I said earlier, it’s kind of ironic that they’ve managed to find their own unique sound, and yet their progress as musicians is very minor. However, in a genre becoming increasingly popular and flooded with artists hoping to be the next big thing, Dream On, Dreamer are doing things their way; some of it right, some of it wrong, but at least we know they’re having fun doing it. As far as the genre goes, you could do a lot worse than 'Heartbound'.