Review: Dreamgrave – Presentiment

Location: Szeged, Hungary
Genre: Progressive Metal
Released: December 9, 2014
Format Reviewed: mp3 (approximately 256 kbps)
Feature: Global Conquest – Recent Releases

By: Kris Kotlarik

Being compared to the likes of Haken and Anathema, among others, on your debut album is a tall order, but here we are. I will give them this: They do have their Haken-esque moments of self-indulgence; this is especially evident on the jazz-influenced “False Sense Of Confidence.” Their female singer, who has a tendency to go over the top with her soprano vocals to the point of being on Epica’s level of siren singing, lays down a scat vocal line that is among the more memorable moments here. The rest of the track bounces around from their death metal influences to an airy sequence of instrumentals and vocals to close it off. The other all-around standout track is “The Last Drop Falls,” another diverse track that features a clean section of male/female duet vocals that sounds fantastic. It made me want more of that kind of style, but it appears only in limited fashion the rest of the way.

The rest of the tracks have sections that I like in bits and pieces. Some people will see the aforementioned Epica comparison as positive, but I do not like them all that much, as that vocal style is too pompous for its own good. “Black Spiral” and the first part of the title track would become instant gems if those soprano vocals are changed to a duet or a lower tune. On a compositional level, there is a lot to offer. From the jamming, uptempo organ solo in “Memento Mori” to the latter-day Anathema-sounding “It’s Ubiquitous,” there should be more than enough to keep prog metal fans entertained here over several listens.

What I would really like to see from Dreamgrave in the future is more experimenting with the male/female duet dynamic. Anathema has proven time and time again that these sections can be emotionally moving when done the right way, The vocalists here may not be as skilled as Anathema’s, but I believe they have the songwriting ability to compensate for this. As it stands, this is a band that has a lot of potential to span a number of subgenres in the metal multiverse.

On an unrelated note, this cover art looks suspiciously like a mix of Fleshgod Apocalypse’s Labyrinth and Star One‘s Victims Of The Modern Age. I’m not sure what this maze has to do with presentiment, but it’s a nice cover nonetheless.

Overall: A solid debut album, with dynamic writing being its biggest strength.

Rating: 3.5*

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