Thursday, December 1, 2022

Album Review: Dream Unending - Song of Salvation

Dream Unending
Song of Salvation
**and1/2 out of *****

The newest release from Dream Unending moves into more cosmic territory as Song of Salvation uses what can best be described as a dream-pop/doom-metal hybrid. 

The Pittsburgh based band, whose two core members are Derrick Vella and Justin DeTore, explore sonic vistas that are both sparkling and dark. The opening title track sets the tone with easy going pacing and sparkling guitars vibrating in shimmering fashion before death metal growls blunder into the serene sounds. The over fourteen minute track plods and drags until a guitar solo turns twinkling and a death march finale of drums wraps things up on the least successful offering here. 

"Secret Grief" is more interesting as warbling vocals, from Phil Swanson in 'normal' fashion, start while friends such as David Vella on keys add to the musical dynamic, pushing it beyond heavy rock/metal. Trumpets float in from contributors like Leila Abdul-Rauf as the band successfully expands boundaries. 

For the second half of the album, the three songs may be divided, but they play like one extended piece. The soft intro of "Murmur of Voices" ends with the title coming to life as odd vocals drip into "Unrequited" which rumbles with feedback and distant guitars, synths and more; playing like a Pink Floyd outtake.   

That leads to the albums best offering the closing opus of "Ecstatic Reign" a long running effort that juxtaposes those death metal growls with varying counterpoint singing from McKenna Rae, Max Klebanoff (Tomb Mold) and Richard Poe. 

The slow rolling track builds up steam with thudding drums and soaring guitars, which match up well with the vocal outbursts. Synths and distorted guitar warbling kicks in around the eleven minute mark as prog-influenced spoken word lyrics drip into clean electric guitar picking before the guttural belching and mid tempo stomp to end. 

Where a band like Deafheaven mixed the genres with vibrant energy, Song of Salvation plods along, meandering to often without purpose or real passion. The death metal vocals make lyrics incompressible and they completely kill any soothing vibe (by design) but those more mundane sections never really catch the ear in engaging fashion to make the listener care that much about being bludgeoned with growls. 

The second album in 2 years from Dream Unending finds the band moving into new directions and that is what Song of Salvation ultimately feels like, a transitional piece, staking the outfits claim to the dream-doom landscape.  
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