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Terra Relicta Top 20 Of 2017



01. Au Champ Des Morts
- Dans La Joie
02. Peter Bjärgö
- Animus Retinentia
03. Phallus Dei
- Black Dawn
04. Saille
- Gnosis
05. Black Anvil
- As Was
06. Heretoir
- The Circle
07. Last Leaf Down
- Bright Wide Colder
08. Bitterfeldt
- Götzen.Dämmerung
09. Elegi
- Bånsull
10. Isenordal
- Shores Of Mourning

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The Dreamside - Sorrow Bearing Tree (2014) - Review

Band: The Dreamside
Album title: Sorrow Bearing Tree
Release date: 31 July 2014
Label: Spin Moon Media

Tracklist:
01. Sorrow Bearing Tree
02. What Life Deserves
03. Perfection In Disguise
04. Feeling Strong
05. Miracle Days
06. Two Steps Ahead
07. Collide
08. Breathe With Me (feat. Ralf Mastwijk)
09. Dreaming Of Angels
10. Seraphim
11. Disconnected
12. Rain And Rivers
13. Walking In My Shoes (Depeche Mode cover - feat. Flo Schwarz)
14. The Spiral Leads

What possibly can this old, roughly compounded with many layers, slightly damaged by time wooden box hide inside? It's crafted in a way that brings your interest and makes you wonder if there's a treasure in it. It must had some significance to somebody... You have to open it, carefully,... it was laying hidden for a long time, but somebody found it and give it a nice polish thus restored it. Oh wait, there's an inscription, it says The Dreamside and I know that I remember this name from somewhere... Ok, you must have figured it out that I'm talking about the cover artwork of the next reviewed album...

Yes, nothing else but a new, sixth album from almost forgotten and in the past highly underated Dutch band The Dreamside. I remember the band fronted by extraordinary vocalist Kemi Vita by making fantastic tunes since 1993 when they released debut album, Pale Blue Lights. And even if the band in their beginning was more oriented versus darkwave, ethereal and folk tunes I loved their approach. Later on they ventured more and more into gothic metal, electro and ambient direction, yet creating the breathtaking soothing atmospheric soundscapes on albums Mirror Moon, Spin Moon Magic and reached the high levels on 2009 released Lunar Nature. Somewhere in between some of the members made a slight turn into symphonic/gothic metal direction with the band Satyrian. The new album is in a way a continuation of the last one, but absolutely not just a mere copy.

Sorrow Bearing Tree is the most direct, straight, metallic and maybe even the most dramatic album that The Dreamside ever did. It features 14 songs, among those four are just around one minute long ambiental interludes that are inserted so wisely and carefully to give a proper effect as a breather to intensify the ambiance. Otherwise everything is centered around unique, hypnotizing and beautiful vocals of Kemi. Most time surrounded by melodic, yet strong and slow to middle paced gothic metal instrumentation. Fantastic and in a way simple wailing guitar riffs are supported by heavy bass lines, impressive drumming, soft and gentle piano touches where needed and backed a small dose of electronics. The Dreamside with this album are offering an extraordinary adventure which starts with the mesmerizing album titled gothic metal opener.

The same feeling is than transfered in the dark and transcedental "Perfection In Disguise", in the strong catchy gothic metal anthem "Miracle Days". Then diverse "Collide" plays with listeners emotions by using vivacious, heavy guitar driven rhytms and calm gentle parts. The high point is reached in beautiful and atmospheric semi ballad "Breathe With Me" where Kemi gets a vocal company by Ralf Mastwijk from the former Dutch alternative rock shooting stars Face Tomorrow. In this one, but not only, the band brings in front some tasty orchestrations. After that it's time to dive into more alternative, upbeat waters, by still keeping the right dose of darkness in "Seraphim" that surprises with its density created by use of some nice electronics. "Disconnected" is a wild rocking hard driving tune with the fastest tempo up here. And all those who ever wondered if female fronted gothic/doom metal is capable to enthuse then just give a listen to "Rain And Rivers", in here you'll hear also one of rare guitar leads and mind provoking orchestral strings.

It's not a secret that many tried to make covers of Depeche Mode's songs, but not a lot of them succeeded. "Walking In My Shoes" done by The Dreamside is nothing else than a captivating tribute to a band that gave such an inspiration to so many bands and artists out there. In this one we should note the guest vocalist Flo Schwarz from the now reformed German alternative, gothic, death metal punk rock legends Pyogenesis, singing in duet with Kemi. Depeche Mode in a gothic metal version,... not bad, although I would prefer Kemi singing with a bit more low-pitched voice. This adventure closes with powerful track named "The Spiral Leads" and it just left me with opened mounth craving for more even though there are 55 minutes of music.

Sorrow Bearing Tree is one of those monumental albums that must have its deserved special place. The Dreamside are very matured band, beign active for more than 20 years and must be proud of what they are composing and performing. Kemi Vita is absolutely one of the best female singers in the metal/gothic scene, there's no doubt about this. Her voice has a special captivating tone, and in the top of that her vocal range is very wide. Add to all this very interesting and thoughtful lyrics, plus a top notch production done by the same Kemi and bands bassist Roman Schönsee, everything wrapped into great artwork and there you go. The Dreamside made one of the best albums so far this year and I only hope that we won't wait another five years for the next release from this great band.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10

Recommended by Terra Relicta

Band: Phonothek
Album title: Lost In Fog
Release date: 17 May 2016
Label: Cryo Chamber

The Phonothek debut appears to be one more step in the expansion of the Cryo Chamber image. On Lost In Fog, we hear a lot more overtly musical elements than are often present. The dichotomy gives the entirety of Lost In Fog a brilliantly dramatic and cinematic edge. The cinematic aspect is further displayed in the choice of track titles. It seems as though we are being guided through a story, and each title gives a bit of a hint into the narrative. As with many dark ambient releases, there are enough hints here to suggest a theme and a progression of scenes. Yet luckily these hints are not commanding enough to steal the sense of mystery and discovery from the listener. Phonothek prove that there is still quite a lot more to offer in this area, much of which we may not even realize is possible until someone comes along and pushes the boundaries just a bit further.

Read a full review HERE