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Divided We Fall - Dreamcrusher

Divided We Fall – CD Review






CD Info
Self Release
10 Tracks
English Lyrics
8.5 / 10

A friend of mine who has a symphonic metal band here in Vancouver was remarking recently after one of his band's shows that after of their performances, there seems to be a lot of people on Craigslist seeking to start symphonic metal bands of their own. This says a lot about the power of the genre and the appeal of the music. There are tons of young, new symphonic metal bands out there (though it's a very niche genre here in Vangroovy) and some of them are great and some of them are not so great. Some have huge aspirations that fall short in execution, but there are a lot of smaller, obscure, and little known bands out there doing a great job in this genre on a low budget, creating unique and more simplified symphonic metal music that works very well. Russia's Ghosthill is one, Vancouver's Celestial Ruin is another, and a little band from Stafford, England, called Divided We Fall is one more.

A Sonic Cathedral colleague brought this band to my attention after they released an album teaser for their debut full-length record, Dreamcrusher, which was released May 10. That day they also played at the UK's Dames of Darkness Festival, premiering their new music. I liked what I heard on the teaser a lot, and the album was no disappointment. In fact, according to my Last.fm stats, Divided We Fall's songs have gotten 428 plays in the six weeks I've had the CD, putting it at #13 on my top 50 artists.

The title track, “Dreamcrusher” gets things off to a great start, introducing the listener to a sound that is speedy, contains tight riffing, and has a lot of abrupt tempo changes led by the heavy drive of the drums. Lead vocalist, Philippa Ricketts, has a mid-range voice with a lot of guts, she has the power the genre requires, and she is very good. However, the operatic guest vocals didn't necessarily work for me. I certainly wouldn't have listened to this CD 40 plus times if I didn't love her voice!

Symphonic elements are kept simple with keyboard arrangements performed by Lee Mulcahy, and even though they are simple, they are refreshing after a constant barrage of the super complex stuff I have been listening to by the likes of Xandria and Epica. Not to dis those two bands at all; that is not my intention. I just really enjoy going back to less complex music once in a while because it appeals to me and it's just that – refreshing after large doses epic bombast. Which isn't to say Dreamcrusher doesn't have any complexity or doesn't have its share of bombastic moments. It does; they are just not grandiose the way Epica's and Xandria's are.

The songwriting on the CD is very tight and all of the songs have great hooks. Particularly catchy to me were the title track, “Dreamcrusher”, as well as “Dream My Life Away” and “Escaping Wonderland.” While the lyrical themes are not necessarily profound, they often contain positive messages which, to use that word again, was refreshing. I wasn't bogged down by darkness listening to Dreamcrusher.

The CD ends with an instrumental track, “Departure”, which gives the musicians a chance to show off their stuff a bit more, in particular Lee the keyboardist and Matt Nicholls, the guitarist.

Previously, Divided We Fall released an EP in 2012, which contained a really good song called “Scars of Your Love” and they also have a cover out of a song that appeared in the film Hocus Pocus, called “Come Little Children”, which you can listen to here. It's a good one!

I heartily believe this is a band with a lot of promise and a bright future ahead of it. All of their elements are strong: the songwriting, the instrumentation, the musicianship, the vocals – it's all there. I fervently wish that the successful execution of this album brings them success in times to come, and even a label deal. Going forward, Divided We Fall will be at the Valkyrian Fest in November in Bridlington, England, and I hope, lots of other gigs. Congratulations to this band for putting out a mature-sounding, thoroughly enjoyable release.