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TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. - The Days the Clock Stopped CD (album) cover


TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc.

Heavy Prog

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Heavy, RPI, Symph, JR/F Canterbury Teams
4 stars This is the latest album of singer, producer, and songwriter Tom de Wit. If on his previous releases the story of his music was centered around fictional characters, this time the title refers to his own severe bowel disease that he suffers 11 years ago, and where he almost felt like dying. So the music on this new album has an emotional charge that you can hear listening to the whole 74 minutes. The music can be described as prog metal that is atmospheric and heavy with plenty of tempo changes, always intense and with some symphonic flourishes. The vocals are all over the place with female and male clean vocals and some death vocals as well. The addition of a 9 piece choir gives another dimension to the music. Tom has really succeeded to create some great arrangements with this choir, some strings that back up the heavy guitar riffs. On this album, I did hear more piano than keyboards and the music strength relies on the way Tom has built the melody on an emotional crescendo that keeps your attention throughout this whole 70 minutes album. I couldn't stop thinking about the band Riverside listening to the calm passages in the music, at the point that I thought that the vocalist of Riverside was actually signing, but the music is different and more chaotic and extreme than Riverside when it gets at a faster pace with more extreme guitar riff. There are some grandiloquent guitar solos that match the giant amount of vocals work done here. So the wait to hear this new album was worth it because Tom felt he was not ready, but now we can enjoy the result.
Report this review (#2483942)
Posted Thursday, December 10, 2020 | Review Permalink
4 stars TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. is Tom's project from WIT as a front-man; started in 2004 and finalized in a new version in 2017. This collective plays modern symphonic metal with progressive touches, acoustics and ambient, music combining emotion and intensity. This is their 8th album. TDW (just his letters!) Is therefore his baby including music, video and creative adventures being also a graphic designer; this intimate concept album describing his psychic and personal fight against his illness; 4 reminder titles punctuate its progression for a series of titles, a therapeutic escape from the body in which it was stuck.

"Crashscape" for an intro piano and whispered voice, classical trumpets then entry into energetic symphonic metal pump, it rocks! "Clockstop - Insight X" follows on a prog metal crescendo with big riff and backing vocals, symphonism and rhythm, verbal appetizer time to introduce "Code of Conduct" ethereal title, duet of angelic voices and other growls, the music juggling in the same way between tender, cottony space and 12/7 machine gun, in short it stirs loudly; "Clockstop - Insight 2" follows with a long track sailing on the sounds of the RIVERSIDE, bass forward, muffled voice, then here also a big sound suddenly, the fruity synth rounds the angles a little then mixes the two, j 'find there the beautiful tortured and inventive sound of PURE REASON REVOLUTION with these voices juggling between notes; the rise explodes, becomes orgasmic, we start off with avant-garde metal and the guitar solo makes you want to pick up the neck of the guitar even though you know you won't be able to translate the notes again; a song that goes up, that puts you in a trance. "Sleepless Angels" follows with the ambient-synth track the one that will rest your mind a little, a track that unfolds on the expressive electronic pads of Alessandrini.

"The Pulse" kicks off the second half of the album and returns to melodic heavy prog metal; more keyboards and drums resulting from it with a heavy nag riff, prog metal break then it starts again with a plaintive and enjoyable guitar and backing vocals which increase the Andalusian atmosphere at times, delicious bombastic prog metal; time to switch to "Clockstop - Insight 3" for the more manly Blackmore's Night musical interlude; go we slide on "Death and Her Brother Greg" in common title based on the voices in duplicates, title which gives pride of place to the rise to mid-term, symphonic, Dantesque, grandiloquent and Hollywood, same music from a science film. fiction, a little PAIN OF SALVATION in return. "No Can Do" arrives, the 18 minute centerpiece! Musically apart title with rhythmic entry, it flows all alone atmospheric and airy, already the riversidian break in the middle with bass, voice la Mariusz, Luca's synth who wants to be analog for a melancholy and intimate descent; backing vocals which recall the PURE REASON REVOLUTION again; it starts again with biniou, riff and impressive drum pads then the riff is accompanied by a vulgar piano la Jerry Lee LEWIS, go unspeakable solos at the end of the course; porcupine metal prog here. "Clockstop - Insight 4" follows in the face of this deluge with an air weighed, calm, metronomic, we feel the impulse of musical life reborn here; the title is easier to access, on the traditional strings with however a beautiful guitar solo at the end, a frenzied final la AYREON, or MARILLION in its most explosive side. "Epilogue: A String of Repeats" smacks of the end of the album with varied male and female backing vocals, kind of a pot pourri of notes, a downpour like one could find at SHADOW GALLERY. Note the bonus track on CD "All We Could Do" to perfect this end of concept album on a variation of mostly female voices responding to Tom on yet another expressive nervous riff himself accompanied by a piano and Remco's cello.

An innovative multi-instrumentalist who had to listen to AYREON for the compositions, RIVERSIDE for the ambiences, GHOST for the choruses, PURE REASON REVOLUTION for the musical trance implication, PSYCHOTIC WALTZ for the style, group which released a nice album at the beginning of the year by the way !, a little of the flights of FATES WARNING and SAVIOR MACHINE and the more current bite of LEPROUS and other PERIPHERY for the energy released. Fusion of voices, symphony of songs to explain the quest for care, for freedom regained after living through the days when the clock had stopped, seen in the clip "Death and her Brother". Tom used this album as a cathartic outlet to ward off the demons of his illness successfully by offering modern metal associated with symphonic prog rock, a little pop and a lot of opera-rock sounds, a synthesis avant-garde progressive in itself. Eighty minutes of pure musical madness not to be missed.

Report this review (#2491264)
Posted Friday, January 8, 2021 | Review Permalink
kev rowland
Honorary Reviewer
5 stars I have known Tom de Wit for a few years now and have always been greatly impressed by his work and style, which generally involves him telling stories in a truly progressive metallic style quite unlike any other. When we were talking about his next release, he asked me if I would say a few words about his music for the documentary which would accompany it, and of course I agreed, so for the third consecutive week here I am reviewing something where I have a presence. Knowing what the album was about, I felt obliged to play the accompanying DVD first, which not only incudes a lengthy interview, the uncut footage of those who were asked to take part, the music video for 'Death and Her Brother Greg', but a full-length documentary on Tom. Given he dislikes being the centre of attention, this must have been incredibly hard and personal for him, as those included in the interview are his parents. Here we discover about his mental struggles with high sensitivity, as well as the severe gastric issues he suffered which led to the insertion of a stoma, and Tom very nearly dying.

The reason for having such a personal documentary included with the album, is that unlike other times when Tom has been putting himself into a persona, here he discovered when writing that he was no longer talking about a character, but instead was telling his own story. This is one of those releases where it is important to play the DVD before playing the music itself, as it adds a great deal to what the listener is hearing. Unsurprisingly, emotions run high through this album, yet somehow Tom keeps it together, giving his guests room to add their own touches to the material, which is as varied and non-standard as I have come to expect over the years. That it is progressive is never in doubt, but he also moves into the more theatrical area beloved of Clive Nolan, with the choirs definitely adding to the overall impact.

It is an album which required the listener to pay attention, and all the lyrics are included in the booklet which contains full details of who played and sang where. This reminds me of the old days when one sat with the album sleeve and (hopefully) lyrics, and that is where the most benefit can be gained, really becoming involved with the music and living the words. There are times when this is considered, times when it is frantic (Marco Sfogli's quick solo in 'Clockstop ? Insight 2' is awesome), yet always it is designed to engage with the listener on an incredibly personal level. The music is dramatic, always searching and driving, and there are times when this feels more like a modern classical piece than a metallic masterpiece, but it is both. The line where Tom says "The moment I came to terms with my mental pain, the physical pain reared its ugly head" is almost whispered, and in total contrast to the maelstrom happening musically, demonstrating just what he was going through.

Immensely personal, this is yet another stunning release from Tom, where he really has bared all and left nothing behind, even allowing his stoma to be visible in the video. This must have been incredibly draining for all those involved, as it is all so very real indeed. This is Tom's life, his struggle, and he has put it out there for all to see in a stunning piece of music.

Report this review (#2596856)
Posted Saturday, September 25, 2021 | Review Permalink

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