Release DetailsLABEL Century Media
RELEASED ON 3/21/2006
posted on 3/2006 By:
Featuring two members from Persuader, one from Iron Savior and a former member of Blind Guardian, Savage Circus ranks as one of the more convincing metal supergroups. Apparently, a night at the opera was too much for drummer Thomen Stauch, and he left his former B.G. bandmates after what he believed was a departure in sound with the last two albums. Taking that little bit of information, along with the fact that you have two members from a group that some would claim successfully mimic golden era Guardian, what do you think you can expect from Dreamland Manor? You guessed it. Classy, refined, galloping, and speedy Guardian-like metal that spends very little time fucking with ballads or unnecessary theatrics.
The leads on this debut, like the one found just past the four minute mark in “It- The Gathering,” are nearly as impressive as some of Andre Olbrich’s best leads, so beyond the similarities in vocals that exist between Jens Carlsson and Hansi Kursch, there also exists a parallel between Emil Norberg, whose brother plays in the stellar Nocturnal Rites, and Olbrich. Of course, given that Stauch might feel like he has something to prove with this first release, he is in top form, providing some interesting fills and generally maintaining a fast, steady pace.
A few songs will stand out more than others. “When Hell Awakes” lives up to its name, with a crunchier guitar tone creating a more pummeling, chaotic rhythm than that generally found on the rest of the eight songs. “Ghost Story” was an essential piece of the band’s 2005 demo and it follows “When Hell Awakes” near the end of the album. The introductory vocals are creepy, contributing to an impressively atmospheric feeling and the chorus comes across brilliantly. Those that argue that power and traditional metal lack balls compared to most of the technical death metal bullshit being passed around like a drunk blonde at a suburban keg party should be directed immediately to the above two songs, because I think they will put most of what 2006 has to offer to shame.
While most of Dreamland Manor is fairly mid-paced, aside from one ballad, it somehow eludes cruise control. Maybe it’s the frequent tempo changes. Perhaps it's Jens Carlsson’s powerful vocals. One gets an immediate sense that a lot of meticulous labor had gone into this release and that bucket loads of sweat had collected as a result of paying so much exhaustive attention to sustaining interest through song structure. That opening minute-long, epic buildup in “It- The Gathering” is a perfect example of the little things that can give an album more life. Dreamland Manor is an album of contrasting textures that often overlap and segue into fresher territory, and that’s what I think prevents this from being pure Guardian worship.
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