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(43:44; Layered Reality Productions)
Okay, time for a history lesson. Back in 2004 young Dutch singer and multi-instrumentalist Tom de Wit released his debut album, ‘First Draft’ under the name TDW, with just a couple of guests helping out. He continued to work in that vein, and then in 2011 he re-released the album for fans only under the title ‘First Re-Draft’ but he still wasn’t happy with it, and with all of his efforts going into the new album ‘Scrapbook’ it was just put out there and left. By the end of 2017 many things had changed, as he now had a live band around him and they were releasing material as TDW & Dreamwalkers Inc., and they wanted to get involved. So, some 15 years since it was originally released, we now have Tom’s very first album totally revisited and is the debut release by the re-named Dreamwalkers Inc. as the band move onto the next level. I’ve never heard the original, but a quick look at the tracklisting shows this seems to be missing the intro and outro snippets (which may well now be within the associated songs), plus “Mosquitos” has been replaced by “Dreamwalk” (which may be the same song with a new title for all I know), but apart from this it is the same songs in the same order as before. Interestingly for me, the cover is also the same as the original, apart from this being to a much higher standard and attention to detail which I guess is what Tom was trying to demonstrate even before the listener had put it on. It is safe to say I was a fan of the last album, ‘The Antithetic Affiliation’, where I said “It is hard to explain just how honest and powerful this music feels, and how it makes me feel. This is music and lyrics to get lost inside, never knowing where it is going to twist and turn, yet always with a coherent sense of melody. TDW are one of the finds of the year for me, and I look forward to both discovering what has gone before, and what is yet to come. Heavy prog rarely, very rarely, is come complete than this.” So, could this new, very old, album stand up to this? I mean, Tom was 16 when he wrote these songs, not the mature musician he had turned into. But the band have taken the raw material and turned it into an album which in many ways is a great follow-up to the last one. Do you want an incredibly dense layered bass-driven metallic progressive sound? Check. Great vocals, both lead and backing with amazing choral effects? Check. Keyboards which provide lightness against the dark, showing gentle touches against the violence which is happening underneath? Check and check. I can’t remember how I lucked into these guys in the first place, but for some reason there is very little written about them in the normal progressive areas, and I can only put that down to the fact that they are very much a metal band, probably more so than progressive, but they fit the prog metal genre down to a tee. I would love to see these guys play with Threshold, as they would complement each other, and all the fans would go home with blasted eardrums. This CD has been released as a digipak with a 24-page booklet, as here is a band who always looks to provide real value, as anyone who has seen any of their last releases will attest to. Complex, complicated, metal as hell while still being progressive, this is one heck of a band. Tom’s seventh album is the first by Dreamwalkers Inc. and the journey starts here.
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