Dreamcrusher is the debut album from Divided We Fall, a symphonic metal band from the United Kingdom. Eschewing the over the top bombast of modern symphonic metal, their sound is more stripped down, resulting in a good pop tinged symphonic metal album.
Singer Philippa Ricketts’s voice is mostly based on a powerful clean approach, her vocals are melodic and energetic, her poppy style is really impressive, and at some points on the album, such as Until I Win, she also belts out some great operatic vocals- she really kicks ass at those points. On the title track especially, her singing is staggering, hitting some really powerful high notes towards the end, it’s an epic enthusiastic performance. The keyboards provide the symphonic side of Dreamcrusher, with a good performance from Lee Mulcahy. With lush synths he gives the music an uplifting pastoral quality, somewhat akin to the way the keys invoke visions of nature in Delain’s Lucidity and Within Temptation’s Mother Earth, especially on the opening track Dreamcrusher where the soft keyboard melodies really complete the track, and on second song Revenge those low organs give the songs a particularly dark atmosphere. The guitars are heavy throughout the album, with chunky, chugged riffs pounding and driving the songs along, especially on Revenge, the best song in this regard. The riffs are quite similar throughout the album though, and few stand out towards the end thanks to a lack of variation. They can get a bit dull over the course of the album and a lot of them are forgettable. On the other hand, the lead guitar throughout the album is great, injecting a great deal of energy whenever it kicks in, giving the songs an epic feel, with mid paced sweeping solos. Unfortunately there’s also a lot lacking in the rhythm section, the bass is practically inaudible, and the drums don’t do a lot other than follow the guitars, rarely breaking out of mid pace, with nothing interesting going on, and this brings down the overall sound, it’s much less powerful than it could have been.
There are some good songs over the course of the album, with the great keyboard sound of Dreamcrusher, the dark heavy atmosphere of Revenge, and the great vocals of Until I Win, but with the lack of variation in the riffs through the album and the bland rhythm section, some of the songs are rather forgettable and it’s a little frustrating, as they’re clearly a band who have potential. If the rest of the band were as good as the keyboardist and singer, they’d be onto a winner.
Overall, the album is a decent effort from a new band, who have got the more stripped down sound of symphonic metal down well. They’ve got a great singer, and some interesting keyboard work, but it’s ultimately let down by a mixed bag of a guitar performance. Fans of early Within Temptation and Delain will like the pastoral lush style they achieve through the keyboards, but they’ve got a way to go to become as good as either of those bands – without the catchy song writing or powerful sound, they simply lack what makes those acts so special. One to watch in the future for their potential, and hopefully this album will be a stepping stone to realizing it, but for the time being it’s simply decent.
Listen to Dreamcrusher below: