Review Summary: The next big name in post-hardcore delivers one hell of a debut.
Dream State is a band that’s been on the rise lately, touring relentlessly and releasing a pair of EPs, the most recent of which came just a year ago and was their first work to drop under the guidance of a major label. Despite their gradual ascension in popularity, it’s hard not to imagine Primrose Path
catching listeners just about everywhere off guard. This is an absolute tour de force, a debut that sweeps in as if it owns the genre and obliterates everything in its path with a combination of heaviness and insane catchiness. It’s really what every debut album should
be: a fearless exploration of all possible avenues in the band’s arsenal. It just so happens that all of Dream State’s creative inclinations are ***ing gold.
Lead vocalist CJ Gilpin is the driving force behind Primrose Path
’s insuppressible excitement. She deftly weaves between heartfelt melodies and shrill screams, often pausing to inject evocative spoken-word passages. Jamie Lee’s drumming is an exercise in controlled chaos, as he maintains the intended rhythm at all times but constantly seems to be on the verge of ratcheting up the tempo. The dual guitar work provided by Aled Evans and Rhys Wilcox (who also adds backing vocals) more or less ensures a constant barrage of full-throttle metalcore riffing, designed to keep Primrose Path
from ever lulling into a state of apathy or indifference. Primrose Path
’s biggest asset, however, is its ability to make every track distinguishable and effortlessly contagious – all without sacrificing an ounce of aggression.
The band accomplishes this with a combination of varied songwriting, creativity in the studio, and natural pop-sensibilities. All three are on display throughout Primrose Path
, whether it’s the way that everything from math-rock to punk seems to find its way onto the album, the electronic effects that usher in ‘Are You Ready to Live?’ and slowly fade away on ‘Out of the Blue’, or the raucous shout-along choruses that have no business being so damn harmonic. The imagination present throughout to afford each song such diversity is uncommon, and it’s what allows them to attain Bring Me The Horizon levels of infectiousness without being forced to soften their pedigree (no offense, modern day BMTH!). Primrose Path
brings a difficult-to-achieve balance for a record that keeps its foot on the gas so consistently.
The sheer energy that Dream State brings to the table buries any shortcomings, and this debut is all too easy to get swept up in. It’s an onslaught of wide-ranging songs that all rock equally as hard, and they’re catchy as hell to boot. This might not be the artistic unveiling of a lifetime, but it’s a damn fun album with plenty of technicality and variation. Dream State is a band that has the wherewithal to reach both mainstream audiences and smaller, dedicated post-hardcore circles. As they inevitably soar in popularity during the coming months and years, Primrose Path
will always stand as the rock-solid foundation upon which they launched their career.