Memory of a Dream
posted on 4/2007 By:
So the problem here isn’t that Transmission0's Memory of a Dream is a bad attempt at yet ANOTHER Neurosis-indebted post-hardcore album, it’s that the band’s first album, 2004's 0, was a very good one. That’s in large part due to the fact that it sounded like it came from a talented band with its own voice, rather than one content to simply scrawl its name on the top of someone else’s playbook. Of course, it also helped that 0 came during the early stages of what eventually became an avalanche of like-minded albums. It’s a disappointment to find that on their second effort, and Candlelight USA debut, Transmission0 have drifted toward the mainstream, offering the now painfully familiar style of Neurosis and Isis worship. The good news is that, judged on that scale, Memory of a Dream is quite effective in its derivativeness (talk about a backhanded compliment). Those that haven’t heard 0, or are still hungrily consuming albums in this style, may find Memory of a Dream to be another worthwhile display of dynamic, ebb and flow post-hardcore/metal, but as I can’t be counted in either of the aforementioned categories, I can’t help but wonder what this talented Dutch band could achieve by sounding a bit more like themselves. At a minimum, they would likely transform a decent album into a memorable one.
You can’t accuse them of not making a heavy album, that’s for sure. Memory of a Dream can match crushing, mountainous tidal shifts with the best of them, as shown on “Cocoon” and “Condor”, a pair of opening tracks of totally presentable if largely unremarkable meat and potatoes Neur-Isis fare. Things pick up some during the last half of “Parcas”, the first long track on the album, as the band hammers out some mesmerizing rhythmic pulsing offset by deftly interwoven melodic intricacies. The improvements are continued on “Fragments”, one of only a handful of tracks that sound like natural successors to the material on 0. The heavy reliance on first class clean vocals and a less rigid adherence to typical genre riffing makes all the difference here, and one can’t help but wish for a whole album of similarly focused material. That track, along with instrumental “Dream 2”, provide a faint echo of what I described in my review of 0 as somewhat reminiscent of A Momentary Lapse of Reason-era Pink Floyd gone post-hardcore. In the case of “Dream 2”, the band lays down a simple but entrancing pattern of tribal drumming and matching echoing muted strumming that has a tense but spacey vibe. “Damn Machines” includes a guest spot from Steve Austin and works well as an uptempo, acerbic hardcore sneak attack. The remainder of the tracks simply fill a role without rocking the boat one way or the other, although lengthy closer “Token” is a bit of a chore, and the one occasion when clean vocals hamstring Transmission0’s momentum.
While it’s tempting to bash this album based on it’s different approach than 0, it’s hard to ignore Transmission0’s obvious quality. They’ve put together a pretty good album, it’s just too bad they largely relegated much of their character and focused on a more typical and trend-consistent sound. I think there’s a term for that, by the way.
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