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Without Dreams : Rejected By Angel, Betrayed By Demon

Without Dreams' debut full-length is a compelling Gothic-tinged Funeral Doom experience.

In the last ten years, scores of one-man bands have sprung up like persistent little saplings among a forest of mighty oaks. These talented acts grow to be strong and respected alongside their full-band brethren, whereas the less creative solo efforts fall short and quickly find themselves to be nothing more than brittle kindling. When faced with the task of writing all of the instrumentation, vocal patterns, song arrangements and lyrics as well as playing everything proficiently, most solo projects are expectedly hit or miss. Luckily for Russia's Without Dreams, this doesn't appear to be a problem and the former case holds true.

Helmed by a man known as Thanataur (aka Sergey Andrievskih), Without Dreams' debut album is a bona fide Funeral Doom epic. Clocking in at well over an hour and containing only two tracks, 'Rejected By Angel, Betrayed By Demon' delivers an essential slit-your-wrists soundtrack.

The cover art depicts a young woman brandishing a bloody knife at her reflection in the mirror. Her image appears to be distraught and full of immense sorrow. It has a classic hand-drawn feel reminiscent of the Thrash and Death Metal artwork by Ed Repka in the early '90s. Behind her reflection, multiple ghostly faces twist into shapes of anguish, torment and hatred. This imagery foreshadows the sonic sadness that awaits.

The album opener, 'Demon of Suicide', starts off with a simple yet eerily hypnotic guitar melody. This riff reappears numerous times throughout the song, but given its lengthy 40 minutes plus, it can hardly be deemed repetitive. If anything, it helps give the song a sense of continuity; a return to the story being told. Gothic-tinged keyboards abound alongside dark single-note guitar and rich guttural vocals drenched in reverb. The only part that really loses me is the uptempo "circus music" about 20 minutes in. Maybe it's supposed to represent the demon's attempt to toy with the suicidal subject? "Come, put the razor to your flesh. It'll be fun!" Unfortunately, the lyrics fail to provide insight for this listener since they're printed and vocalized entirely in Russian. Whatever the intention, the part lasts over a minute and a half, but is thankfully redeemed by Thanataur's monstrous growl, which ushers a return to true Funeral Doom form.

Track two is titled 'Fallen Angel'. Although a bit shorter than its predecessor, what it lacks in length it more than makes up for in movement. In essence, this second song is comprised of three main riffs that build up and drop down into near silence. The introductory guitar piece runs in the background for the first half of the track, while various other instruments are layered atop this melody until it recedes into a mellow break. The second half of the song follows a similar format only with a different primary riff. It again comes to a close by way of another subdued section. Finally, this track is rounded out by an outro piece that sounds somewhat familiar to the intro riff of the first song, which lends to the album’s circular structure and gives it a sense of closure.

The overall ebb and flow of 'Rejected By Angel, Betrayed By Demon' makes it a compelling listen. Rather than getting stuck in the typical ultra slow drone of a lot of their Funeral Doom counterparts, Without Dreams keeps it fresh with a heavy reliance on organ and keyboards. The strong gothic influence give this debut a dark presence that will leave you feeling as if Angels and Demons just finished playing tug-of-war with your very soul.

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Reviewer's rating: 8/10


Tracklist :
1. Demon Of Suicide
2. Fallen Angel

Duration : Approx. 67 minutes

Visit the Without Dreams bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-09-30 by Chris Hood
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