CD Reviews

Dream Aria - 'Fallen Angel' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     September 23, 2011    
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Album by the female fronted act from Canada.

On first impression it would be easy to dismiss Canadian female fronted act Dream Aria as another attempt to cash in on the success of bands like Nightwish or Within Temptation, however delve deeper and it becomes apparent that this is an act who are actually pushing boundaries just a touch further than many acts in this genre.

Fronted by the inspirational voice of Ann Burstyn, 'Fallen Angel' is actually the third release to come from Dream Aria, although they somehow remain an unsigned act even though they have won countless fan votes across the internet. The band's first two albums, 'In The Wake' and 'Transcend' set a musical course where diverse genres such as classical, metal, prog, dance and folk were brought together into one cohesive and pleasantly original sound that still reminds of many bands. This third effort continues the band's musical journey in a similar style, with unusual musical bedfellows being melded together seamlessly in a manner that is on the whole remarkably convincing.

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Take for example the opening title track which begins with a folk infused rock beat that immediately brings those Nightwish comparisons, however the brooding riff and keyboard section that follows leans more into Vanden Plas territory before bursting into a multi-layered vocal section that is undoubtedly classical in inspiration, but also stingingly metallic. It is actually quite a heady introduction to the album and in truth could possibly be a little overwhelming as the guitar sometimes seems to work against the multi-tracked vocals, battling for supremacy with neither actually coming out on top, and I have to be honest and say that on first listen I was rather nonplussed. Familiarity on this occasion breeds respect and while it would be wide of the mark to suggest that 'Fallen Angel', the song or the album are an immediate listening experience, it is one that reveals many hidden depths as you persevere with it. The band's songwriter and arranger Donlad Stag also handles keyboard duties, while creating a surprisingly diverse set of songs with 'Tale Of Two Wolves' coming on like 'Signals' era Rush jamming with Riverside, 'Carnival Of Souls' veers off into a Kansas like direction (the band, not the place!), while 'Healer' brings an oddly reggae-ish slant to an ambient dance like trance. 

Adding to the eclecticism 'The Gift' almost sounds like Kate Bush fronting Blondie, with a straight beat and poppy keyboard and guitar bursts allowing Burstyn the freedom to really let go vocally, not that she is shy and retiring at any other point! For some this may all sound a little too confusing and yes in a way it isn't for the faint hearted, but bizarrely enough 'Fallen Angel' somehow remains quite accessible and almost commercial in places. As with many bands producing music these days, on paper what Dream Aria are trying to achieve should plainly and simply not work and it is to their credit that for the most part 'Fallen Angel' most certainly does.

Steven Reid

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