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1. My Frailty
2. Your Troubles Will Cease And Fortune Will Smile Upon You
4. Bread Crumbs & White Stones
5. To Carry You Away
7. Promises Kept
8. Encased In Ice
Reviewed by: Shawn
// Published: 1/26/2011
With the title of their sophomore effort, After The Burial seem to be hinting at where you might find a non-Faceless album released by Sumerian Records that is worthy of praise. Quite ironically, In Dreams turns out to be exactly that album. While the one-two opening punch of "My Frailty" and "Your Troubles Will Cease And Fortune Will Smile Upon You" won't do much to convince you that this album offers anything different than the instrumental masturbation or Cynic worship of the label's past offerings, the stylistic variations introduced with "Pendulum" set the tone for the rest of the album; by the end, the aggressive and generic opening tracks seem to fit perfectly in the overall picture.
"Pendulum" starts off with some catchy mellow guitar playing before bursting into a melodic metalcore song that is still surprisingly heavy. It also marks the first appearance of the band's excellent use of clean vocals; the simple clean-sung passage in the chorus fits the album's tone perfectly, without resorting to robotic effects or pop metalcore crooning. The high-pitched harsh vocals here and throughout the album have a similarly raw feel to them (almost a live feel at times), leaving only the generic death grunts straggling behind.
Moving forward, the fourth track revisits the opening tracks' "Sumeriancore" style, but with some added guitar melodies akin to the ones exhibited on "Pendulum." While this song is fairly enjoyable, it passes as more of a brief change of pace between "Pendulum" and "To Carry You Away." The latter track revisits the progressive leanings of the former and contains a stellar solo section. With "Sleeper," possibly the album's most simplistically brutal track, you'll start to notice a pattern.
When the acoustic intro of "Promises Kept" hit, I can't say I was surprised; nor was I surprised when the song turned out to be really damn good. "Promises Kept" sees the band doing their best Between the Buried and Me impression, featuring the most prominent clean vocal spot and some underlying riffs that could have come straight from Alaska. My only complaint is that given how much more focus is put on the clean vocals here than on past tracks, the mix should have been adjusted; the harsh vocals still dominate the mix despite their background role. Ripping closer "Encased In Ice" then carries the album to a suitable end, but not before throwing in a well-deserved "Mutha****a come on!"
Bottom Line: In Dreams plays out a lot like a Between The Buried And Me album. You're going to spend a fair bit of time sifting through generic metalcore before you hit something notable, but when you do, it all makes sense. The album's highlights are very enjoyable and memorable, and its low points are still easily digested. Reducing the unnecessarily dominant death vocals in the mix and songwriting would have made In Dreams even better.
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