Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Quicksand Dream – Beheading Tyrants (2016) / 87%

Atmospheric sword and sorcery metal

The elusive Swedish duo surprisingly decided to release a second album after the underrated and cult-classic to be “Aelin – A Story About Destiny” released a good sixteen years ago. While the album is short based on our arbitrary full length standards (to hell with ‘em, I say), it doesn’t disappoint at all.

While 2016 offered us a bunch of excellent traditional albums such as the unhinged weirdness of Demon Bitch or the Phil Swanson heavy metal love affair of Sumerlands, Quicksand Dream has nothing to be ashamed of in terms of both quality and vision. With this new opus, we’re served six mid-paced epic songs culminating with the fantastic and highlight “To Kill Beneath the Sun”. The thirty minutes record  has an appreciable balance between fast and slow elements and a track like “The Shadow That Bleeds” demonstrates how well the band masters both the quiet, soothing moments as well as the riffy rockier ones.

Their blend of doomy epic metal is certainly something a bit more common than it was back in 2000. Bands like Atlantean Kodex, Sons of Crom or even Visigoth released strong, timeless metal while Quicksand Dream were slumbering in the shadows. Fortunately, it’s great to hear that they didn’t lose their edge. The riffs and huge bass lines of Patrick Berlund are catchy as hell, alternating between sorrowful, powerful and heavily evocative. His leads are also super interesting and captivating (check out the introduction of “White Flames on Black Water”. Göran Jacobson is still a tremendous force with the microphone but the production on his vocals is a bit underwhelming as it’s full of echoes. Despite this technical issue,  he still delivers a truck load of emotional heroic and manly bardic moments.

Their take on the genre could be qualified as an intelligent and atmospheric sword and sorcery epic heavy metal. It’s crushing but offers soft, gentle blows instead of a full blown barbaric attack and prefers relying on escapism than straight off beheading tyrants with a great axe. Quicksand Dream is both for those who like their metal full of powerful hymns and for those who also like to drink tea and read some Robert E. Howard. That’s a very particular niche occupied by the late The Gates of Slumber but also the epic doom pretenders to the throne Lord Vicar.

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