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Dreadnought - Emergence CD (album) cover

EMERGENCE

Dreadnought

 

Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 3 ratings

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TCat
4 stars The Eclectic Prog band Dreadnought (not to be confused with Dreadnaught, another Eclectic Prog band) was formed in 2012 in Colorado by Kelly Schilling on vocals, guitar, and flute; Jordan Clancy on drums and saxophones; Kevin Handlon on bass and mandolin; and Lauren Viera on keys and vocals. The album "Emergence" is the bands 4th full length album released in May of 2019. It consists of 5 tracks spanning a total run time of over 46 minutes, 3 of those tracks are over the 10 minute mark. The album is available on Bandcamp for download, CD and vinyl. The basic premise for the album has to do with the destructive and cleansing power of fire, how it causes death yet creates new life from the ashes it leaves behind, and how that all ties into the human condition.

"Besieged" begins heavy dark with mysterious sounding vocals, a bit subdued, and then suddenly screaming. While the background continues to churn along, the vocals change back to subdued and harmonized vocals, then everything cools off a bit as everything slows, but remains dark. Powerful progressive riffs bring everything back to a heavy sound with dampened keys and more harmonized vocals return, more screaming later and then more dampened piano. It's an effective style to match the growing and shrinking of flame, but the undercurrent of the track gives one a feeling of a constant threat. As the song flows into the next track "Still", it calms but becomes quite foreboding and atmospheric, bringing on an almost mourning feeling. The sax gives the mournful atmosphere and soon sad vocals work to keep this track dark as the instruments give one the feeling of destruction in this transitory, yet important track.

"Pestilent" starts with the drums crashing in, bringing in a guitar heavy darkness. Clean vocals begin again, staying somewhat subdued as they have been through most of the album. The heavy riffs contrast with the female vocals when they are clean, but you always expect the vocals to go dirty, which they do many times. Minor key harmonics keep the feeling ominous. After 3 minutes, things lighten up a little, but dark sax and flute remind you of destruction and death. The music isn't what I would call complete doom metal, but it is very close sharing aspects of the genre, but also mixing in aspects of shoegaze. But it also has a lot of variation in the dynamics, but the tone stays somber and dark. More harmonized clean vocals and more screaming vocals come and go. The piano still shows through, but is also mixed to remove a lot of the brightness of the piano so that it sounds right at home with the dark and sometimes heavy guitars. Things intensify for a while, then suddenly soften as a somber guitar solo plays. After 10 minutes, things get really intense and heavy and screaming vocals take over until the end at over 12 minutes.

"Tempered" signifies the use of fire to create and strengthen metal tools. The dark heaviness continues, with a faster tempo and the use of occasional keys giving a piano and organ effect amidst the wall of guitar noise. Clean and dirty vocals are used slipping from one to the other. Dissonant harmonies are also used. Just before the 5 minute mark, the intensity wanes a bit and the vocals get a slight gothic and hazy feel to them. Guitars come back in full force after 6 minutes. Churning doom style guitars are accented by piano chords and screaming vocals, then a screeching sax and flute join in, turning it into a boiling cauldron of sound. As it all comes to an end, though, things soften and lead into the next track.

"The Waking Realm" reflects upon the new life that a fire can create in nature. It starts off quite atmospheric and pensive, utilizing hazy, but clean vocals and softer, hesitant instrumentation. Dissonance and unclarity are rampant in this somewhat minimal track, but a slow, thumping drum and crashing cymbals finally call up a steady, almost jazz-like rhythm with dampened piano and vocals playing over the top it all. More guitar and bass come in, intensifying things a little, but still keeping restrained. Finally, after 6 minutes, the guitars and frantic drumming kick up the heaviness. Clean and harmonized vocals continue, still retaining their subdued and hazy feel that they have retained through the entire album, sounding almost like a very heavy version of "The Cocteau Twins", even with a slight goth and shoegaze feel to it, with the attitude of doom metal. Just before 10 minutes, things quiet down again with a soft guitar and soft vocals. The drums bring in one of the heaviest passages of the album with a wall of guitar and screaming towards the last part of this track as life comes back with a vengeance.

This is a surprisingly heavy and dark album with a lot of dynamic, but it tends to lean on the loud and heavy side of things more than anything else. The mix of tones in the dual female vocals are a very important sound in this album, even though they stay a bit fuzzy and subdued, they still leave quite an impact. The heavy guitars tend to bring dual styles of doom metal and shoegaze, while the keys struggle to bring a little brightness to it all, but they are always kept dampened, yet they are almost always there. There are some nice surprises throughout too, with the addition of sax and flute which are added without feeling strange and alien to the music, and the addition of some jazz elements scattered around. Make no mistake though, this album is dark and heavy, always feeling like there is a layer of ash and smoke hanging around. The music definitely fits the concept idea of the album, and this can tend to be a bit depressing, but the music is effective in conveying it's concept. The genre this band is under is eclectic, but it tends to sound more like Post Metal at times with it's heaviness and forays into doom and goth styles. Overall, it is an interesting combination of styles, which I guess in the end is what makes it Eclectic.

TCat | 4/5 |

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