Theater of Life
posted on 9/2004 By:
“I don’t usually like my filth this clean.” It was one of those nights in college, when after drinking A LOT at the bars, my roommates and I ended up on the couch watching softcore porn on Cinemax. You know the ones; very promising titles that only end up being major disappointments. Nothing but worn looking chicks and fleeting glances of “winterbush.” “I don’t usually like my filth this clean” complained my roommate. This ten year old memory came racing to mind while listening to the bright and shiny debut by Memorized Dreams. When I listen to metal I want to hear dark heaviness, anger, and aggression. This album sounds a bit like the soundtrack to a metal “After School Special.” The lyrics don’t help—you get stuff like “With the key in our hands, we fly throughout the land. On a fairytale ride towards our home. Take us far away, through the gates of heaven.” Its not just the lyrics though--I learned long ago not to pay too much attention to metal lyrics. Every aspect of the album smacks of this upbeat and often cheesy tone.
If you haven’t already guessed, the Norwegian Memorized Dreams is a power metal outfit. They make good use of frequent symphonic elements and clearly also have some prog influences. Their songwriting is fairly typical for the genre, and there are some relatively good power metal moments. There are hooks abound and after three or four listens I found that a couple of songs were stuck in my head. I still didn’t like them, but they were there. Their riffs are fairly standard and have kind of a late ‘80s feel in places. Keyboards play a major role, as two of the seven members (the power metal Slipknot?) play synths and piano. The vocals are solid at times and a bit dodgy at others. Sometimes the singer uses a lower key, and sounds a bit like John Bush on one track and Neil Diamond on another(one of these things is good, the other is not). There are of course some soaring vocals too, and on “Gates of Heaven”, some very cool background vocals that sound a bit like Rob Halford or Geoff Tate. One of the best vocal moments is the sweet male/female harmony on the otherwise disappointing ballad “Sea of Oblivion.”
Memorized Dreams are decent at what they do, and this album has its moments, but I don’t see that they separate themselves from the pack in any way. In the end, only serious fans of power metal who don’t mind the Christian themes should bother finding this one.
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