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(73:40; Layered Reality Productions)
Recorded in Alphen aan den Rijn on 31st August 2019, this is the first official live album from Dreamwalkers Inc. The project may have gone through a few name changes over the years, but it is no longer a studio project from Tom De Wit, as it is now a living and breathing beast so this is the first album not to have ‘TDW’ on the cover. Of course Tom is still very much at the helm as lead singer, but he is accompanied in that role by Radina Dimcheva, there are two guitarists in Lennert Kemper and Norbert Veenbrink, plus Peter den Bakker (bass), Vincent Reuling (keyboards), Kenneth Martens (drums) along with Cailyn Erlandsson who provides additional vocals on one song. I smiled when I read the press release, as not only is there a quote from my great mate Jerry van Kooten, but there is also one from me where I am now shown as ‘The Progressive Underground”, whereas it always used to be PA, MLWZ, Rezonatz, House of Prog, Progressor, Amplified, Gonzo, or wherever else the review had actually appeared. Anyway, the quote they lifted was “Complex, complicated, metal as hell while still being progressive, this is one heck of a band”. I still stand by those words, and this album displays just that. I honestly do not know another band who sound quite like these guys. Bringing metal into prog is not new, but here they have cranked it right up yet somehow are far removed from the rest of the prog metal crowd, which is quite something given just how diverse that scene is. Twin singers also are not a new invention, but it is actually quite rare within the prog scene, at least with neither playing an instrument onstage. Tom is primarily the main singer, but Radina takes the lead at times, duets or provides support, whatever is needed. Just listen to “Aphrodisia”, 8 minutes of chaos and calm, coming together to demonstrate exactly what this band is all about. But that is by no way the longest song on the album, that honour belongs to “The More We Remember” where the band are loud and heavy, quiet and restrained, all in one number which somehow seems far shorter than it actually is. This is progressive music with real breadth, refusing to sit still within one sub-genre or another, yet also bringing home the guitars when the time is right to do so When asked who they appeal to, Tom feels their music is for fans of Porcupine Tree, Riverside, Pain of Salvation, Threshold and Tool, but that is far too restrictive to my mind. This is for all fans of either progressive rock and metal, who want the genres blended together to make something which is very special indeed. It feels very English in its approach, and Tom certainly sounds it, so much so that when he speaks in Dutch between songs it sounds quite wrong in many ways! If you have yet to come across Dreamwalkers Inc., then this is the album with which to correct that major wrong.
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