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A Dream Of Poe : The Wraith Uncrowned

A beautifully-crafted dive into the inferno, A Dream Of Poe's latest Gothic/Doom opus is transfixing.

A Dream of Poe, the subject of this review, is a most interesting specimen to behold. The band is originally from the Azores; however, now, they dwell in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Portuguese influence has not fallen away, though, as is clear from the very beginning of the recording. The album that follows, their fourth full-length since forming in 2005, is quite the heady experience, a deep dive down through gothic catacombs and into the bowels of the inferno itself.

'Versos Para O Submundo,' the near two-minute introduction to the album quickly captures the mood chosen by the band to color their resulting art. With a deep baritone voice, a spoken-word section is laid over solemn piano notes and orchestrated strings. Immediately, Moonspell came to mind. Perhaps this was due to the accent, but the vocal timber in this section mirrors that of Fernando Ribeiro, front-man of their homeland's greatest contribution to Gothic Metal. As the album proceeds, though, that comparison is limited mainly to a small subsection of the vocals provided as the band casts a variety of spells upon the listener via seemingly limitless ideas for the vocals.

The following track, 'Jekk Alla Jrid,' erupts with massive keyboards. In the plush sections created by the marriage of keyboards, guitar, bass, and vocals, the drums serve to mix things up by offering unique syncopated double bass triplets underneath. The third track, 'At The Cape Of Good Hope, The Wraith,' features bass playing that sounds like a cavernous beast stalking its territory for prospective prey, a melancholic predator accenting if not fulfilling the melodic ideas presented by the guitars and keys. The clean interlude expands the scope of the song with lush acoustic passages and plaintive vocals that faintly resemble Layne Staley at times. Ultimately, this is quite the powerful track and truly a highlight of the album.

Other highlights of the album include 'Punished,' the fifth track and 'The Bringer Of Dawn,' placed seventh. 'Punished' contains what is certainly the thickest guitar performance of the album with crushing palm-muted sections and later in the song, the thick layering of keyboards and vocals is spiced up with tremolo picking underneath. Staccato riffs over a wealth of choir-like vocals characterize 'The Bringer Of Dawn'. This technique is monstrously effective giving the Gothic Doom Metal a feel of Medieval chant; however, this darkened verse would be rejected as pure heresy by the church dominated music of that time. Blasting and Black Metal-styled riffs decorate the latter part of the song cementing a delicately-placed motif of style.

A Dream of Poe is concretely a multisided project as is evidenced throughout the album. There is a palpable, heavy Peaceville Three influence that can be heard especially in the tone of the guitars. Their particular tone heavily favors My Dying Bride actually, the band absolutely nailed the tone spot-on. Eschewing the urge to show off, most of the parts serve to compliment the overall arch of the song at hand. Solid low-end playing expressively elaborates the melodic ideas brought to fruition with an expanse of bass that elbows its way in and out of the riff. Vocally, there is indeed a quite diverse mix of styles. At times, there is a clear tenor voice performed while other parts are gruffer and more guttural. It is when the two are mixed that the sound becomes truly enriched and is thus expanded by the tonal differences. The influence of Therion can be heard in the heavily orchestrated, choir-like sections, though A Dream of Poe is vastly darker, more solid, and focused.

'The Wraith Uncrowned' has a soundtrack-like quality leaving a pensive listener consumed by the resulting images of ancient monoliths, scattered graves, and life-giving elixirs. Forlorn, somber, and grief-stricken at times, there is also a ray of hope and possible redemption that shines from within a narrow, discernible hole. Music means myriad things across the vast array of listeners and A Dream of Poe likely conjures a plethora of thoughts and visions. In terms of creativity, the album is an undisputed victory of the band. It succeeds in achieving the highest principles of art to transfix the bearer and transport one to another realm entirely. One cannot help but wonder what inspired this monumental compendium of carefully crafted songs, but its greatest gift is the inspiration for elicited sparks and resulting flames of expanded imagination.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Versos Para O Submundo
2. Jekk Alla Jrid
3. At The Cape Of Good Hope, The Wraith
4. In The Wake Of Forgetfulness
5. Punished
6. Black Trinity
7. Spirits Of The Dead
8. The Bringer Of Dawn
9. Eulogy For The Weary

Duration : Approx. 39 minutes

Visit the A Dream Of Poe bandpage.

Reviewed on 2019-08-23 by Chris Hawkins
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