Dunwich Dreams – Rise Of The Seventh Sun
Release Date: 10/03/23
Running Time: 34:24
Review by Dark Juan
Once more into the breach, dear friends – this review is the result of another one of Simon “Sounds Up Your Street And They Have Been Bothering Me For Ages” Black’s lucky dips (to be fair, a mixture of Metal and Electronics is generally what pleases the lugholes of your favourite ersatz Metal hack), where the good team of Ever Metal get assigned a record that has been sent to us by the bands themselves, as opposed to a PR company or label, in an effort to connect you good readers to the true underground. There have been some absolute gems that we have discovered since we have been doing it and some that are… strictly average, let’s say, because I am wary of battering down someone’s art and passion simply because I haven’t enjoyed it. Unless they have been total arseholes, anyway. Everyone could be more like Nicholas Golden of GLDN, who was gracious when I wasn’t massively a fan of his record, out of which a mutual respect and a kind of friendship has grown, where we now support each other’s work passionately because he’s a good egg and a fine musician who had had a slight misstep.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again – I am a music CRITIC and therefore I am not going to think everything is wonderful and I am not at Ever Metal to tell you everything I hear is amazing because a) it isn’t, and b) I am not here to blow smoke up the arses of bands, because if I do then I am doing you readers a disservice (especially when your record-buying budgets are somewhat constrained after the calamities of the past couple of years). With that in mind, today’s platter is by Alberquerque, New Mexico-based Dunwich Dreams, who were formed in 2015, “Rise Of The Seventh Sun” being their second full-length release. They write music based upon their love of horror literature.
I’m going to be honest here – this is a very raw release. The guitar sound is pure Line 6 Spider (as in very… artificial sounding) and the drums curiously far down the mix for a record that combines Metal and Electronic music. Normally the drums are at the forefront providing a percussive drive and they are just a noisy backdrop to the music of Dunwich Dreams. I can see what the band are trying to achieve with their arrangements and their attempts to fuse Metal and Electronics, but it is all just way too disjointed. The guitar work is far too spasmodic and lacks flow and clarity, especially on ‘Coded For Contention’ (where the guitarist is struggling to keep time in places) and the sequenced bass the band are using is simply horrible, being all clanky and clunky. It is obviously artificial, but I am not sure whether the band intended it that way. The electronics are much better but there is far too much reliance on “Pretty Hate Machine” era bloops and squelches – however this could be due to limited equipment rather than any great deficit the band themselves have. The vocals are also not to the taste of this Hellpriest – a scratchy, Manson-esque growl is all well and good and to the credit of Rosary Leyba, but his clean vocals are lacking, and he struggles with them.
‘The Somnambulist’ is a good enough tune and moves along at just the right pace for a good, solid mosh and also ‘Vengance’s Folly” (sic – I’m fairly sure that’s a misprint in the blurb) is a pretty good KMFDM analogue that would have benefited greatly from a different vocalist. The Industrial Rock of this song needs a Lucia Cifarelli singing on it rather than Rosary’s proto-death growl. And the guitarist is out of time on the song again when he’s chugging.
I am not thrilled by Dunwich Dreams, and you all know that I will always try to find positives in what I listen to. There is much promise here – the melding of Metal and Industrial and Electronic has the potential to be jaw-droppingly good, but the ambition of the band appears to be outstripping abilities but I really do feel that Dunwich Dreams would benefit from a better guitarist (this is coming from a guy who left his last band because he was too shit a guitar player!) and to rein in the ambition and concentrate on writing solid songs before striking out in search of expansive new vistas.
Oh, and ‘Violent Sticky Sex’ was a massive disappointment, being more of a plodding dirge when it could have been a stomping sex-a-thon just right for courting Metal couples. I think Dark Juan will stick to ‘Closer’ by NIN when on the path of seduction…
To draw this review to a conclusion then: This album is a raw, unfinished thing that could have done with another few weeks being rehearsed before going into the studio and it being re-produced by someone who knows what they are doing as it sounds like it was recorded in one take in someone’s basement. The guitar sound is deeply unpleasant, the bass twangy, the drumming less audible than it should be and the electronics overpowering. I am not sure what Dunwich Dreams are trying to say with their music.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System doesn’t get many duds nowadays and it just increases the disappointment when it does. Dunwich Dreams are not one for the annals of Dark Juan’s music collection and therefore are awarded 4/10. There’s oodles of promise, but there’s a metric fuckton of work ahead for Dunwich Dreams to do to realise it. British bruisers Spectral Darkwave do it so much better…
01. The Black Wings Of War
02. Onward to Ragnarok
03. Rise Of The Seventh Sun
04. A Darkness Hungers
05. Coded For Contention
06. The Somnambulist
07. Vengance’s Folly
08. Violent Sticky Sex
09. The Serpent’s Flight
Rosary Leyba – Vocals / Electronics
Jordan MacDonald – Guitar
David Harris – Drums
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