Another day, another excellent album from what is fast becoming one of my fave record labels, Metalville… This time it’s a slinky slice of sleek AOR courtesy of the always-upbeat and very excellent Dreams of Avalon!
Essentially the brainchild of one man, Joachim Nordland (you’ll have heard of him, possibly, thanks to his association with excellent Swedish metal heads Astral Doors), DoA mash up a very palatable pottage of pop metal hysteria over the course of the eleven tracks that comprise Beyond The Dream, fusing the sunny melodies of Brit rockers FM circa Bad Luck to some sturdy Euro metal riffage and a Tempest-uous (geddit?) vocal style, guaranteeing goosebump-raising levels of brilliance on nearly every track.
He’s not a top draw vocalist in the truest sense, our Joachim, but his ability to harness an earworm melody to simple yet effective stadium riffage means that his voice is absolutely perfect to execute the task in hand. Songs like the exuberant opener Young Wild Hearts, Run For Cover and especially the deliriously good Into The Night roll back the years so effectively it might as well be 1987 as soon as you press ‘play’ on whatever method of delivery you’ve chosen to crank out BtD through; On The Run adds a classy, synth-driven AOR sophistication to the mix – imagine Survivor or maybe Shooting Star in their parping pomp – effectively meaning that Dreams of Avalon have got all the eighties bases covered on Beyond the Dream.
Nordlund also throws in a stunning, slick solo on On The Run – he’s the complete retro package! It’s been a fair while since I’ve been given cause to simply sit back and wallow in one musicians’ sublime skills on an album, but it’s not testing the breaking capacity of my hyperbole meter too much to suggest that this is one of the best all-round performances by a one-man-band (with due deference to drummer Sven Danielsson and occasional keyboarder Joakim Roberg) in a long, long time.
Beyond The Dream is out now.