'Sorrow Bearing Tree'
Over twenty years into their career and Netherlands-based ethereal gothic rock act The Dreamside are back with their latest album 'Sorrow Bearing Tree'. The band have enjoyed worldwide exposure and acclaim thanks to albums such as 'Pale Blue Lights', 'Apaika' and 'Spin Moon Magic'. The band have always been on the cusp of something big but never managed to push their way over the top and have for the most part remained somewhat underrated by the general public.
They may have traded in their earlier folk-tinged ethereal darkwave for a more generic electronic augmented gothic metal, but the band can still bang out the atmospherics and ambience. The new album is dramatic and incredibly well performed with every nuance of the band's 20 year history audible throughout. Ultimately though it doesn't really bring anything drastically new to the table, and unfortunately sounds a little too close to the bigger bands they no doubt inspired.
The album does have it's pulling points though. Songs such as 'Sorrow Bearing Tree', 'Miracle Days', 'Collide', 'Seraphim' and 'The Spiral Leads' give the album a strong backbone of groove-laden metal and exquisite melodies that stand alongside the band's most memorable past offerings. While the short folk tracks that break up the longer tracks are an interesting choice that could have really been developed more, perhaps even separately as an EP.
The band's biggest miscalculation is their choice to throw another lacklustre Depeche Mode cover onto the already heaving pile of tributes to the synthpop innovators. 'Walking In My Shoes' just sounds flat, unfinished and ultimately to close to the original to really add any merit to the album.
The production, mixing and the individual performances of the band are as strong as they have ever been. Each song is well crafted and well executed, but ultimately over the course of the fourteen tracks the effect of the strongest tracks take a hit from some of the more mediocre tracks included.
This isn't really the band's finest work, but neither is it their worst by any means. A shorter and more focussed track list would have benefited them rather than the stop and start feel that it has. The loyal fans will find enough here to reward their faith. But newer fans may want to start a little further back with the forthcoming re-releases.