Dream Evil
The Book of Heavy Metal


4.5
superb

Review

by Jason Hellmuth USER (19 Reviews)
June 29th, 2006 | 16 replies


Release Date: 2004 | Tracklist


It's difficult to get a good grasp on what really is metal these days. It is drop tuning, crushing riffs and an inhuman scream? Is it a pounding rhythm section, tremolo picking and men wearing bondage gear? Or is it the elements found to the bottom left-hand side of the periodic table, which exhibit the most metallic properties. In these troubled times, who really knows? Dream Evil, of course! (But you already knew that, if you've been paying attention, that is).

Back in the '80s and early '90s, Manowar were the undisputed kings of metal. Hell, with their finely chiselled abs, animal skin undies and well oiled hair, they were metal incarnate. But, then something happened; the band just fell off the face of the earth, with nary a release for many years. (For more information, simply refer to this [url=http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=311479]informative article[/url]. Something had to fill this void, this empty space were a truly metal band could lead the charge of all metalheads into the ears and heads of all of those darned conformists.

Unfortunately, it was not until the new millennium that the heirs to the throne would rise. The first of these was Lost Horizon, whom those intelligent enough to read ALL my reviews will know well by now, and following a year later was Dream Evil with their epic debut Dragonslayer.

Formed in 1999 by the famous Gothenburg producer Fredrik Nordstrom, Dream Evil was more the product of a will to form a supergroup than a band formed by more conventional means. Although you may find a lot more information in the [url=http://www.sputnikmusic.com/forums/showthread.php?t=389219]FA on Dream Evil[/url], I will touch briefly on the difference between this album and their previous two.

You see, just like their unusual formation, Dream Evil also recorded their first two albums under strange circumstances. Their debut was recorded amongst the band doing things like meeting each other for the first time. Their sophomoric effort, Evilized was conceived and written on a plane flying over Europe and Asia. In stark contrast, The Book Of Heavy Metal was written, edited and recorded over a good period of time, it was the result of a flurry of creativity from all the band members. With several albums worth of material, drummer Snowy Shaw spearheaded the gradual refining process that removed every song that just didn't "fit". What remained was the cream of the band's crop, the best of the best, the superlative adjective of their hyperbole, if you will.

Opening with the incredibly over-the-top, balls out, cheesy power metal anthem The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians), the album sets the tone for a resurgence of what made metal the genre it is today. The title track features riffs that aren't compromised by a catchy melody, but rather complemented by it. And the lyrics! Depending on temperament, you'll either by pissing your pants laughing (or from a weak bladder, but that's your problem) or raising your fists and beating up the nearest teenybopper. Indeed, as Niklas Isefeldt so eloquently tells us:
Quote:
Don't need no flashy house,
no car or ugly wife
the only thing I want,
is what my parents don't
Now here is a song that we can all relate to, in some way or another. For a real look into the band's psyche, check out this songs video, directed by Patric Ulleus. It can explain things more succinctly than I ever could.

In a similar vein to the title track (i.e. dealing with the music itself) are tracks like The Sledge, No Way and Let's Make Rock. All three are crunching, thumping tributes to Rock and Metal, proclaiming its longevity;
Quote:
Originally Posted by No Way
Rock'n'Roll will never die!
its addictive properties;
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Sledge
It's something I can't live without
Beyond the shadow of a doubt
and ultimately its energy and sense of fun.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Let's Make Rock
Let's go crazy we won't stop until we make you go wild
Don't be lazy altogether now stand up and shout
The band also focuses on other issues through their lyrics, such as self-image and self-worth, and the negative issues which we all grapple with in life. However, the band is solely not about the lyrics, outrageous or otherwise, but instead showcases the talents of all the musicians.

Gus G, the enigmatic Grecian guitar hero (say 6 times quickly for extra credit) displays his talents with flourish on almost every song. From the dazzling main solo in The Book Of Heavy Metal, to the mystical intro to Unbreakable Chain, he wears his influences on his sleeve, marrying the sound from bands like Judas Priest, Scorpions and Iron Maiden to a unique writing style. And it works wonder, lending a verve and pace to the songs that really drives the anthems home, and makes the ballads that much more poignant.

Complementing Gus on the often over-looked rhythm guitar, Nordstrom provides a style similar to the melodic death bands he has produced in the studio, which really gives a powerful, heavily distorted base for Gus to build upon. And Nordstrom is no slouch with an axe either, as he proves on the end solo for the title track, and the galloping melody for tracks like M.O.M and Crusader's Anthem.

And speaking of galloping, Peter Stalfors, the group's bassist, whilst never prominently featured in the album, nonetheless makes his presence known with his Steve Harris-like tone and style, which gives every song a great feel. Chosen Twice, which is an outstanding track simply for its operatic chorus and neo-classical opening passage, is a good example of his ability to add to the song from the background.

Rounding out the rhythm section, but never in the background, is the prolific drummer extraordinaire Snowy Shaw. An absolute monster behind his set, he lends the same flamboyance seen on his work with Mercyful Fate, King Diamond and Memento Mori to Dream Evil. Thunderous beats and cacophonous cymbals are plentiful, adding the final touches to the album, the right amount of flair and power to make a good record, great. Again, listen to The Book Of Heavy Metal or the bonus track The Enemy for a good sample of his flair and skill behind the set.

Now, I'm not naive. I know a lot of you hardy fellows who make it a point to read every review, no matter the genre (or how much you despise it), are shaking your heads, as this clearly isn't a record that you would enjoy. And you are partly right, since the band makes no apology for their sound. This is straight up the middle power metal. It doesn't try anything fancy, or bring anything astoundingly new to the table. However, what it does do is provide an avenue into power metal that is accessible to newcomers whilst still entirely enjoyable for even the most knowledgeable fan to listen to. And for that, this album is worth its wait in gold.

Its weakest track Only For The Night, which grates on the nerves with both Isefeldt's shrillest vocals and the least enjoyable riffs from Gus and Nordstrom, is still miles ahead of a lot of the best songs put out by other bands in the genre. And the great tracks, like The Mirror with the feeling of "Scorpions" stamped all over it, just make the experience all the more better. And that's why it gets a 4.5 from me. So listen to it, understand it, and maybe, just maybe, you'll love it. And if you don't, well, I'll personally get Manowar, Lost Horizon and Dream Evil to kick your arse, you poseur.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
Bron-Yr-Aur
June 29th 2006


4405 Comments


Good review.

Shattered_Future
June 29th 2006


1541 Comments


Great review for a horribly underrated band. Dream Evil fucking RULES, man. Great riffs, absolutely crushing solos, and Niklas is a better vocalist than he lets on to be. This is probably their most solid album, it's got the greatest concentration of good songs, whereas their earlier albums had great songs and...not so great songs. I think Dragonslayer edges this one out just a bit, but this is a close second.

I'm suprised Into The Moonlight didn't get mention here, as it's one of my favorite songs. Granted, it's somewhat simplistic, but it's got an undescribeable feel to it. And, of course, the solo is brilliant.

metallicaman8
June 29th 2006


4677 Comments


I've only heard a few tracks from these guys, but what I've heard is outstanding.

haroune
September 29th 2006


10 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

great review, i heard this album and i'm shocked.. it's wonderful


rockfan
January 1st 2007


38 Comments


lol I actual thourght this was a book haha, my bad, good reveiw!

Otisbum
January 5th 2007


1912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Aww, no reference to 'Tired'?

Great review, I'm considering bumping my rating up to a 5.

Otisbum
November 9th 2007


1912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

It's been over 6 mths since I've listened to this, and it's just as awesome as it was back then.

HRgroupie
November 10th 2007


2 Comments


Metaaaalllllllllllll! You were right, I nearly pissed my pants laughing listening to this in the best possible way...."incredibly over-the-top, balls out, cheesy power metal anthem" describes it to the tee....Great review Jason!This Message Edited On 11.10.07This Message Edited On 11.10.07

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2008


16089 Comments


This band fucking sucks.

Hawks
July 11th 2008


35837 Comments


This is pretty bad.

Poet
July 11th 2008


5935 Comments


IN THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL!!!!


METAL!!!!!!!!!!

This band is awesome.

HBFS
August 2nd 2011


1294 Comments


the book of heavy metal is one of the worst songs i've ever heard

ViperAces
September 14th 2012


12504 Comments


Holy shit this is cheesier than Painkiller.

linguist2011
Contributing Reviewer
July 28th 2014


1922 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The strongest Dream Evil album I've heard so far, though I've yet to listen to their last two albums. Some of the songs on here are so powerful and bombastic and remains utterly memorable for along time, not to mention the level of heaviness on the superb title track and other songs like "Chosen Ones" and "M.O.M". The title track in fact introduced me to the band in the first place, back when Metal Hammer released free DVDs with each issue (That was about 8 or 9 years ago), and I was instantly hooked, so I don't know why I didn't feel the need to listen to the album in full. The vocal delivery also feels more varied here, particularly on the title track where classic metal screams and grouped vocals work well.

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions

Thibs
July 28th 2014


1766 Comments


i used to listen to Evilized in highschool but i can't take this level of cheese anymore

listen to masterplan.

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

OmairSh
August 2nd 2014


11924 Comments


MAID OF MEYYTALL!! The lyrics are incredibly cringeworthy



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