Dreaming Dead - Funeral TwilightBeing at the bridge between traditional and more extreme forms of metal, death-thrash isn’t a style with a lot of clout. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the sub-genre, but its middle ground status means that most peoples’ preferences fall to one side of the genre or the other. While there’s no denying the beauty of heavy metal, readers will recognize that I fall on the brutal side of the scale. But that’s not to say that I can’t appreciate a good death-thrash album, and Odin willing, that’s what Funeral Twilight is going to be; a rough, raspy romp between galloping power and grisly destruction.

Death thrash doesn’t try to succeed on atmosphere or emotional content, and any good band knows that their only hope of success is to bring the riffs and bring them quick. Funeral Twilight presents no shortage of such riffage, and it’s hurried along like good thrash should be. “Your Grave” gets things going in a hurry and makes a great first impression, combining memorable riffs with a raspy vocal hook. It’s not reinventing the wheel, but it does get the wheel spinning. The album’s best songs rely on this sort of straightforward, melodeath-influenced feel, and the late-album track “Buried” provides the b-side a comparable boost in energy.

But a couple of fun cuts does not a great album make. When Dreaming Dead pull their shit together, they can kick a bit of ass, but this poop reliably resists being grouped. On the front half of the album, “Funeral Twilight” and “No Masters” go for a slightly progressive feel, with more disjointed riffing, and though they’re not poorly done, the riffs and the songs just aren’t that compelling. The follow-up to those two is the lugubrious instrumental, “Remnants of a Time Long Forgotten,” which really saps the album’s momentum, and it never quite recovers. Even “Unseeing,” the supposed climax of the album, spends half of its runtime on a dreary introduction and the rest on a riff that gets only halfway to the majesty that it’s reaching for. I’m all for an album switching gears on the final song, but after the band have been running hot for so long, the only direction they could shift was down.

Dreaming Dead 2017

Funeral Twilight‘s very dry production is quite fitting and does a fine job evoking mid-period Death, though there’s not a lot of emphasis on their DiGiorgio equivalent. The lower register is muddy and muffled, which is a bit at odds with the sharp and crackling guitars. Guitarist/vocalist Elizabeth Schall’s raspy Chuck impression fits right into this anachronistic production, and her performance is diverse and fun throughout the record, especially on “Buried,” which peeks just above the rest of the record in overall quality. That being said, the retro sound of Funeral Twilight takes some getting used to and though it compliments the music well, I’m not very impressed with the end result.

Dreaming Dead have a couple of aces to play, but beyond those their hand is far from flush. “Your Grave” and “Buried” are worth hearing if you’re a fan of death thrash, but I would predict that Funeral Twilight won’t impress or stick with listeners for very long. It’s an average album, through and through, and the band, though competent, exhibit neither excellent writing nor dazzling performances. This album will leave my rotation as quickly as it came, and though I don’t begrudge it our time together, I won’t miss it either. The year continues its predictably slow start.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Hammerheart Records
Websites: facebook.com/dreamingdead | dreamingdeadmusic.bandcamp.com
Releases Worldwide: February 1st, 2017

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  • antitayyip

    only twilight i am interested in is twilightning https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDRZRfAXTMM

    • sir_c

      holy crap, talking about some proper album art here :-)

  • Jason

    I don’t mind some death thrash, so I’d be willing to give this a listen. The “dreamingdead.com” link takes me to bandcamp’s home page instead of the band’s website.

    • Scourge

      You know these guys don’t get paid, right?

      • Jason

        I was just pointing out a broken link.

        • Scourge

          Oh, I forgot to put “j/k lol smiley face omg”.

          • Jason

            Ah ha!

        • We appreciate it. Fixed!

  • Paul VH

    Agreed…..such a slow start to the season new release wise. Lots of great sounds with “meh” songwriting .
    Need someone to break the mold again.
    Too much parody not enough ingenuity.

    • Paul VH

      Loved the first half of the new Emptiness album…..thought maybe they were going to pull it off…..but then it got banal and samey.
      Same with The Great Old Ones…..just need more dynamics…..not pedal to the floor the whole time.
      Last one to knock my socks off was Cult Of Luna’s Mariner.
      Great production, great dynamics, great songwriting.

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Sounds decent enough, but I know for sure the next thing I’m getting is this re-issue of “Aquarius” by Haken coming out on 2/3. I’ve been trying to find that CD for over a year, and the cheapest copy I’d ever found was like $40. Then, of course I’ll have to get the new Soen album.

  • I enjoyed Midnightmares by this band, will check this one out too but agree that this band is missing maybe one element to take them to another level.

  • Man, this is one where I think I will disagree quite radically. At least I hope so, because I haven’t heard this album yet. I’m waiting until I have the actual CD, so I’m avoiding hearing anything for now.
    I absolutely adored their first two albums, so I expect to consider this a 4 to a 5, unless something went horribly wrong and it somehow ends up disappointing me.

    Is it really fair to compare them so much to Death? Sure, they’re clearly inspired by Death, but they’re very far from being some kind of unimaginative ripoff. Dreaming Dead has quite a recognizable style, I’d say. Again, based on the two previous albums so… Yeah… There’s that.