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TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC.

Heavy Prog • Netherlands


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TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. picture
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. biography
Over the years, this project may have changed its name, but it has been a continual journey for TOM DE WIT. The project started out as TDW, a project that brings together musical experience with emotion, an open mind and intensity on one side, combined with precision, technique, and craftsmanship on the other. This music can be described as Modern Metal mixed with symphonic elements, dynamic shifts, progressive touches and Tom's unique sounding voice. The music is built on dark, mostly melancholic stories about fictional characters that are expressed through the lyrics.

After years of being a studio project, DE WIT formed a band in 2016 called DREAMWALKERS INC. This allowed him to take the music to the stage with a debut performance at Progpower Europe 2016. DREAMWALKERS INC. originally was therefore not just a band, but more a collective of musicians that Tom had chosen to perform the music in the best way possible. The goal was to bring shows in which the stories behind the songs could be told through music, lyrics, and visual elements. The use of video and other theatrical elements added to this notion. At the first gig, the band took to the stage in an acoustic setting, which can be considered a surprise looking at the normal more metallic sound that this band normally has to offer. The fact that the band can actually also play acoustically with the same intensity as a full-on metal show, is a testament to this bands' diversity and abilities.

Then almost a year later in June of 2017 the band took the stage to perform their first big metal show, which was received well for its intense and energetic delivery by fans and critics alike. The band released their album "THE ANTITHETIC AFFILIATION" in May of 2017. This album was still called TDW but can be considered the unofficial start of DREAMWALKERS INC. as a band in its own right. Later that same year, the band performed a new take on their first acoustic show, dubbed "The ambient show" featuring brand new material as well as re-arranged older songs. This show took place in a chapel in Amersfoort and was be a hybrid of acoustic music and ambient music driven by beats and electronics.

As time went by, it became clear that DREAMWALKERS INC. and TDW were now becoming separate entities and Tom decided to make the distinction clear by releasing the album 'FIRST RE-DRAFT' under the DREAMWALKERS INC. name in early 2019. Tom would keep doing TDW music by himself, releasing albums and songs...
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TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. discography


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TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 2 ratings
First Draft
2004
3.65 | 6 ratings
Up Close And Personal
2006
3.67 | 3 ratings
The Haunts
2008
2.97 | 3 ratings
Scrapbook
2011
4.74 | 11 ratings
Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To
2014
4.37 | 16 ratings
The Antithetic Affiliation
2017
4.86 | 3 ratings
First Re-Draft (by Dreamwalkers Inc.)
2019

TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

5.00 | 1 ratings
A Night At The Theatre (by Dreamwalkers Inc.)
2020

TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
Promotorium
2005
3.00 | 2 ratings
Brother
2006

TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 A Night At The Theatre (by Dreamwalkers Inc.) by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Live, 2020
5.00 | 1 ratings

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A Night At The Theatre (by Dreamwalkers Inc.)
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

— First review of this album —
5 stars 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.

 First Re-Draft     (by Dreamwalkers Inc.) by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2019
4.86 | 3 ratings

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First Re-Draft (by Dreamwalkers Inc.)
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars 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.

 The Antithetic Affiliation by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2017
4.37 | 16 ratings

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The Antithetic Affiliation
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Turning now to the 2017 album 'The Antithetic Affiliation', Tom was again joined with guest musicians and also this time by Dreamwalkers Inc. This is a band that has been put together to perform TDW material live, as up until then that had never taken place. So, in 2016 they played their first ever gig as a band, acoustically, at ProgPower. The plan was to film it and release it as a DVD, but for some reason the audio recording failed. Instead of just dumping the tapes, TDW made the decision to make it available as a bonus, and even explains both in the booklet and on the DVD for the rationale for doing so (it was a historic event) and hoping that fans would forgive them for the quality. To be honest, this was the disc I played first as I was home alone and doing the ironing, so thought it was a good idea to put it on the TV. I was soon lost in the music and totally forgave the quality of the audio recording as it made such a big impression on me overall. Unfortunately not much ironing was completed.

So when it was time to get to the album itself I was really looking forward to it, especially having heard the earlier album and the DVD. Only eight songs, but it is more than two hours in length as it is a double CD release. It is presented as a fold-out digipak, three discs in total with a booklet containing all the lyrics and details, did I say that this is yet another independent release? TDW are putting many more far established bands to shame.

Musically and lyrically this is way more complex than 'Music?', as Tom has brought together musicians that enable him to provide both more width and more depth than before. When there is a need for just piano it is there, want some delicate woodwind? Want emotional vocals? Check. Want a band blasting with everything turned up to 11? Yep, we've got that too.

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.

 Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.74 | 11 ratings

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Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by kev rowland
Special Collaborator Honorary Reviewer

5 stars Earlier this year I received a Facebook message from Layered Reality Productions asking if it would be okay for them to send me an album to review. Almost as soon as I responded in the affirmative, Tom de Wit was in contact and we started having a conversation. He asked me if I would mind making some amendments to the band's listing on ProgArchives, and then one day a video case turned up in the post. I can't remember the last time I was sent one of these, so was actually quite pleased when I opened it to find CDs inside, one of which is the 2014 album 'Music To Stand Around and Feel Awkward To'. Tom sent me the booklet, but apologised for not sending the cover, which I then discovered was actually a 7'slipcase which didn't fit! Now, I haven't come across Tom before this, which rather surprised me when I realised that he originally started recording material under this name when he was just 14 years old, and is also involved with other bands as well.

The 24 page full colour A6 booklet provides information as to why the album was recorded, lyrics, Tom's thoughts on each song and details on who was involved. Tom is a multi-instrumentalist, providing lead and backing vocals, guitar, bass, synth, orchestral and drum arrangements, but here he brought in others to help out. These include the likes of guitarists Frank Schiphorst (MaYaN) and Tristan Visser (Majesty) who are provided with the opportunity to go nuts with no constraints. In the booklet it states that Tom provided all music and lyrics, 'except for the solo parts and contributed mayhem by guest musicians which they all rote by themselves (I WASH MY HANDS IN INNOCENCE!)'. Apparently it was recorded, mixed and engineered by Tom 'I AM NOT A CONTROL FREAK' de Wit (his capitals).

If I had read all this before listening to it I am sure that it would have enabled me to listen even more favourably to this than when I played it, and take it from me that was already right up there! They are categorised on PA as Heavy Prog, and to be honest in many ways that is bang on. The site defines the genre as follows: 'Heavy Prog defines progressive rock music that draws as much influence from hard rock as it does from classic progressive rock. In simple terms, it is a marriage of the guitar-based heavy blues of the late 1960s and 1970s - artists such as Cream, Led Zeppelin, and Black Sabbath - and the progressive/symphonic movement represented by King Crimson, Yes and Genesis.' Musically this is a melting pot of bands as diverse as all those above combined with modern symphonic metal, but with strong vocals and a feeling of honesty and presence throughout. It is tight, it is fresh, and overall it is simply bloody great. This doesn't feel in any like a small limited edition release, which this album was, but as if it had been put out by a major label who had been convinced to spend money on it.

The booklet makes me smile, makes me think that as a listener I have a real connection with Tom and what he is trying to achieve, and the music just makes that grin get ever wider. This is grown up music, refusing to pander to any of the fashions that exist, even within the progressive rock scene, and instead is definitely moving down its own path, to its own beat. Highly recommended, the only flaw being that it took me four years to discover it.

 Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.74 | 11 ratings

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Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by quxabletremor

5 stars Usually I start an album review with a bit of background information about the artist, band or project before commenting the music. This time the first thing I have to mention is the spectacular way the album is presented. At first the package looks like an old vinyl single, nicely wrapped in a cardboard cover. Inside there is a CD and a A6 size booklet that holds all the information you need as well as all the lyrics, a special card an as an extra, a nice moustache. Check the artist's you tube clips to find out why this gadget is added. This special package makes sure this album does not end up somewhere in your regular collection and needs to be stored in a special place. To be honest, even without the special package this album needs a special spot, direct for the taking, because when you have played it once, chances are it won't leave your player/pc for a long time. Before I forget, the actual CD has been released to 300 piece limit, all hand numbered. My personal copy does not have a number, but my name on the spot,' which makes me feel special as well.

Ok, before I get sentimental, let's talk music. TDW stands for Tom de Wit; vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, record label owner and nice person in general. Known from previous releases and a five star album with his band Mind:Soul (see review). For further information I would recommend to read the interview we did a while ago (see interview). The opener Some Things, Part One shows another side of Tom as we know from his band Mind:Soul. This almost acoustic composition has relaxed but intense vocals and Adeia's Laura Ter Voorde's violin playing perfectly suits to the created atmosphere. The following Chameleon is the first re made song of the album. Intensity wise this one sticks close to Mind:Soul compositions, although the keyboards are a bit more prominent and Lennert Kemper's (ReSolve) solo would not suit the aforementioned band, but does perfectly fit to this stunning song. Surface Scratching is another nice and powerful composition. This time background vocals are perfectly blend in to the song and Dimaeon's Sybren Boonstra completely goes bananas on his guitar solos. Heading Back is one of the reasons you should buy this album; together with Dreamwalk, Part II ' The Descent and Shock Awakening this is one of the songs that are the extras on the actual CD. By the way, the rest of the album can be downloaded for FREE at TDW's website. Only a fool would pass on this super offer. Heading Back is a relaxed composition that can be seen as the lead-up to the following Home, Lennert Kemper plays a nice and emotional solo. Home gently turns up the power, this composition is nicely build with super sounding guitar riffs. During the midsection, the vocals are more darker and raspier than on the previous songs, which shows the vocal capacity of Tom. Nice guitar solos of Michiel van der Werff (Weltschmertz) and Norbert Veenbrink (Mindshade) finish this composition. Absolute highlight is the emotional and very personal Butterflies; an intense piano ballad which features Hanna Van Gorcum excellent violin playing. Listening to the following Mourning After II, I realize how easily all the different atmospheres on the album go well together; after the intimate Butterflies, the pedal goes down and a brilliant duet is the result. Together with Rosita Reitsma, Tom pushes the song towards the stars. How perfectly those voices work together and how wonderful Laura's violin is combined with Sander Stegeman (Sense vs Sanity) heavy guitar parts. The second, CD only composition is the almost nine minutes lasting Dreamwalk, Part II ' The Descent, which definitely is one of the spectacular highlights of the album. This wacky epic has every element perfectly fitting into each other; metal riffs, progressive synths, dark and moody vocal lines combine with acapella vocals. Even a part of Grieg's Hall Of The Mountain King has been fitted into this killer composition. You are going to push repeat after this song I assure you, you will have the need to listen to this one again. Shock Awakening is the lead-up to Jimmy and sees heavy riffing and a sort of multi layers spoken words preparing you for an ultra-heavy riff that opens Jimmy. This song has been released in a different form on Tom's Up Close And Personal album and can be seen as a political song. Frank Schiphorst (MaYan) delivers some fine heavy solos to this bass driven monster. The final Some Things, Part Two, gives us the chance to listen to ten and a half minute of brilliancy. Tom leads us through this final epic with melodic and symphonic vocals, heavy guitars and super orchestrated parts.

This is one of those albums you immediately fall in love with. There is so much variation in music and styles, you just have to push repeat to listen again and let the music fill you up. A very strong point is the way Tom uses his voice, he exactly knows where his comfort zone is and uses that in a brilliant way. Music To Stand Around And Feel Awkward To ! is an album that shows a lot of Tom; the human being,.. at least, I think he is one.

 Up Close And Personal by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.65 | 6 ratings

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Up Close And Personal
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by MJAben

3 stars An album full of potential but lacking in scope, here is an album where we see the prodigy Tom de Wit really expand and develop as a musician. One truly has to commend the variety and the ambition put forth in the release, even if it does feel imbalanced and scattered at times.

de Wit will certainly be a musician to watch in the future as this feels like an album that holds a great deal of potential, even if it falls short in some ways. Standout tracks for me are 'The Curse From The Woods', ':' and 'Octave in 3'.

I think at times the album could sound more polished and at times the PT influence is a tad overwhelming but, nevertheless, what I like about this album is that if one song doesn't cut it for you, the next song likely will and although this causes the album to feel a tad bit fragmented it certainly keeps it from growing stale.

3/5 stars.

 Scrapbook by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.97 | 3 ratings

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Scrapbook
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 'Scrapbook' - TDW (5/10)

Well, that was something.

While I will do my best to speak of the music on this album by this Dutch progressive metal group, there is one thing on this album that stands out beyond anything else, even the music itself. That being the length of the album, which- after having listened to it from start to finish- has left me in a state of relative exhaustion. While I will do my best to critique the music based on its merits, this album has brought up a rather saddening point to me; that an album's length can greatly affect a listener's patience and appreciation of it, regardless of how good or bad the actual music is. In any case, from the two hour length of this record onwards, it is clear that TDW has invested alot of time and effort into this album, and indeed, this sense of effort gets across. While the music is well done and some of the songwriting here is excellent however, it all comes back to the length, and the album's general lack of variety, which leads it to becoming an exercise in tedium, should one attempt to listen to all of it from start to finish.

'Scrapbook' is a two disc album, although it could easily be considered as two albums under one name. Although the style of hard-edged melodic prog metal is kept consistent throughout the album, there is no narrative umbrella to reach over all of these tracks and create some binding concept, as is the case with many prog double albums. Instead, over the course of two hours, we are simply presented song after song of music that these guys have done. The music generally sticks to a slightly progressive formula of prog metal, with the occasional lapse into something different, like Middle-Eastern music, or symphonic metal, you name it. While none of the styles here (including the main sound of the band) is done particularly well, everything sounds solid, and there are even moments here where the listener's attention is grabbed. Of the two hours of material here though, there's probably an hour and fifteen minutes of music that I would consider to be very good, with the other forty five being something of a nuisance. It is not necessarily that TDW is inconsistent with their writing, but some of these songs could have used a little editing, to get the message across a little better.

The songwriting and performance here is very good, but I do not believe that the style that the band is playing is fresh or powerful enough to stay that way over the course of two hours. If TDW had cut half of this out and had a single disc hour long album (still fairly long by my standards), it would be much easier to enjoy the quality that is here, and there is most definitely quality here; it just gets incredibly tired before the end.

 Scrapbook by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.97 | 3 ratings

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Scrapbook
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by toroddfuglesteg

3 stars A double studio album within the Heavy Prog genre is very rare. From the top of my head, I cannot remember any other albums like this.

Nominally, this is Heavy Prog. But that's in name only. The vast majority of the stuff here is progressive metal and even experimental metal. Think Dream Theater and Pantera. There is a lot of the latter one here. Add a bit Slipknot, Bush and Korn to this mix too. This album is a child of our time. In particular, disc 2. The first disc has a lot of modern rock too and is not as metal as the second disc.

This is not a concept album, TDW is stressing. But sometimes, this album feels like a concept album. The musicianship and vocals are good. Unfortunate, this two hours long offering from TDW is very ambitious, but sadly comes up short in the quality stake. The material is good, but not particular memorable and great. The two hours trundles on without really offering greatness. Some sporadic great melody lines and details shows up now and then. But nothing here is really bad either so TDW has pulled this off to a large degree. A middle of the tree rating would suffice here.

3 stars

 Brother by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
3.00 | 2 ratings

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Brother
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

3 stars Up close and very personal

Just prior to releasing his second album "Up close and personal", Tom De Wit put out this very limited edition (150 copies) single. The A-side is a non-album song called "Brother" while track 2 is a reworking of a song which appeared on his first album. De Wit does just about everything himself here, accompanied only by guitarist Michiel van der Werff.

"Brother" is in De Wit's own words "about a person very dear to Tom who he had to say goodbye to due to unfair circumstances". In this case, "goodbye" does not necessarily mean death, but what De Wit saw as the unjustifiable deportation of someone back to a country they were fleeing from. The lyrics are clearly very personal, and written from the heart. They perhaps display the tender years of De Wit in their rawness, but in some ways that can be quite endearing.

Musically, the song is largely in keeping with the type of product to be found on De Wit's first two albums. If anything, despite the heavy nature of the lyrics, the mood is actually slightly lighter. It should be said that the track has little potential as a hit single, but given the limited production run we can safely assume that was not the intention anyway.

The other track here, "Happy day (2006 version)" sees the track of that name from his first album being updated with new lyrics and a different arrangement. Once again, the lyrics are personal and reflective, revealing a young man who is casting off his youth and discovering the true complexities of life. Melodically, the song retains the lighter feel of "Brother".

In all, this perhaps more of a rites of passage for De Wit than a genuine single release. Interesting but not essential.

 Up Close And Personal by TDW / DREAMWALKERS INC. album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.65 | 6 ratings

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Up Close And Personal
TDW / Dreamwalkers Inc. Heavy Prog

Review by Easy Livin
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin

4 stars Real hope for the future

Two years after the release of the debut TDW album, Dutch teenage prodigy Tom de Wit returned in early 2006 with a second album. Once again, he undertakes much of the work himself, although he does again call upon Ramon de Wilde to help out on guitar. He also brings in a couple of other contributors, including violinist Christine Reurink. The entire album was released as a free internet download, and remains available today via the official website.

In a deliberate attempt to challenge himself beyond his comfort zone De Wit decided that this album should explore many different styles and genres, resulting in a collection of great diversity. The opening "Surface Scratching" is certainly rooted in the harder rock which was a feature of the debut, but the production shows a new sense of ambition. The track has hints of Porcupine Tree (especially in the distorted vocals), although the guitar work is bluesier and the overall sound lighter. For a sub-four minute track, it certainly packs a lot in.

"The Mourning After II" sets of with a Sabs like riff, but the keyboard backed vocals offer a contrast not generally present on albums by the band. The track mixes heavy metallic moods with melodic vocal refrains. "Jimmy" is a heavier drudge through a rather muddled affair. The keyboard sounds give the track some colour, but for me this is the album's weakest track, musically and lyrically.

"Number 7" alters the mood completely, with a symphonic instrumental played out on keyboards. Here the feel is that of old Hammer House of horror B-movies. "The Curse From The Woods" retains the cinematic style, but this time through an acoustic instrumental with orchestral overtones. Here, solo violin adds welcome new colours to the sound. The following "Fearless Speeding Maniacs" is a brief disposable indulgence featuring Andreas Jongeneel on Pots, Pans and Kitchen sink.

The bizarrely and rather inconveniently titled " :' " (the lyrics refer to "double point, apostrophe-a, Heading for Catastrophe-a") reverts to a style which resembles some of Porcupine Tree's earlier less structured works, the improvisational nature of this piece being the loosest De Wit has permitted himself to be up to this point. The album closes with the instrumental " Octave in 3", an ambitious multi-part 8 minute suite featuring a variety of keyboards and guitars.

I know when assessing music one should remain dispassionate about the protagonist involved, and focus on the quality of the results. It is though difficult not to constantly listen in wonder at the talents of one so young. De Wit was still under 20 when he recorded this album, yet it has a maturity and sophistication others twice his age can but aspire to. The diversity of sounds and styles may in reality be limited, but there is still plenty of scope here for De Wit to explore new avenues. We can only hope that this great young talent continues to develop and bring us music of such high quality in the coming years.

Thanks to raff for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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