Review Summary: Far from a regression
On their first effort, post-hardcore rockers Dream On Dreamer were packed with potential, mainly contained in the palpable chemistry between screamer Marcel Gadacz and former bassist/clean vocalist Mike McLeod. Though both vocalists were more than capable, it left much to be desired from the other band members, especially in the guitar section. Sure, the guitarists proved they could riff, and at times even carried the songs, but never truly came out of the box. Even so, Heartbound
was an enjoyable effort that bled of passion, angst, regret, and love, leaving more room for regression than improvement for the band's sophomore outing. Was Loveless
a regression? Far from it.
From early on in the album, lead guitarist Callan Orr makes his presence known, and refuses to be dismissed to the level he was on the band's first effort. Whether it's his clean picking in the title track or sweeping leads throughout "The World In Front Of Me" and "Foundations", these small flourishes he picked up since the last album make a world of difference in the long run. Also more prevalent is rollicking drumming, courtesy of Aaron Fiocca. He manages to spice up the album, and create maelstroms out of mere intensity(if you need convincing, check "Foundations"). Unfortunately, former rhythm guitarist Luke Domic is playing much of the same, G-tuned riffs that plagued the last album, to the point the guitar tone becomes slightly annoying. Once again, the bass is also lacking, as is much of the ambient effects that wove throughout Heartbound
. There's no doubt that Loveless
is a much heavier affair than HB.
Once again, DOD opens the album spectacularly, as the first four or so tracks are extremely enjoyable and grip the listening with gnarling guitars and sharp-toothed screams. Those who enjoyed the more melodic material found on Homebound would be best to first check"Infinity", as the bright chorus and predominant clean vocals are reminiscent of "Blinded". The ambient keyboard-dominated ending of "The World In Front Of Me" is also similar to the band's past material, as well the ambient-laced ballad "Hear Me Out". "Moving On, Moving Far" has the best guitar performance the band has ever laid down, and is one of the only times Luke truly comes out of his shell. "Evol" contains a beautiful, BTBAM-esque solo, while "Black Maine" is a pulsating mid tempo rocker.
Kudos to the group for refusing to stay stagnant as just an average band, something they were more than capable of doing. Also, the improvement by the majority of the members is much appreciated, as the listener won't soon forget the performances of the band members long after the end of the record. However, much of the generic tendencies that nightmarishly plagued the first LP are sadly still present, especially in the song structures. Most songs are the expected verse-chorus-verse, which is unfortunate.
It's funny how slight improvements will totally improve the quality of a group, but because of them, Loveless[/I} is a whole other animal from [I[Heartbound
. If you weren't totally impressed by Heartbound
may change your mind.