An encounter which persists with its persuasion after making a pretty strong first impression, growing in thoughts and enjoyment all the time, Don’t Hold Your Breath is the sophomore EP from Northern Ireland melodic metalcore quintet Dream Awake. The successor to their well-received debut of a couple of years ago, Pathfinder, the five track offering is a potent new step in the ascent of the Belfast band.
Recorded with producer Daniel Kerr of Avenue Studios (Our Hollow Our Home, Create To Inspire, Shields), Don’t Hold Your Breath certainly provided an attention grabbing first listen initially though its real strengths taking it out of the crowd were not so imposing. Subsequent outings with its melody rich and threateningly aggressive enterprise gave the time to discover a real depth in adventure and creative resourcefulness. There are moments in which the EP fails to escape familiar traits among genre companions but even those times are built with a potential of greater and bolder individuality.
It begins with the ear grabbing The Weathering, a track featuring the guest talent of Napoleon vocalist Wes Thompson. Its atmospheric opening is soon vined by Chris Byrne’s suggestive guitar and subsequently immersed in the volatile tide of rhythmic thunder and vocal causticity. The raw throated roar of David Houston is in turn replaced by the excellent clean tones of guitarist Conor Kelly, a calmer presence in the growing tempest where the bass of Craig Leetch springs a bassline which swings around ears and appetite while the beats of drummer Daniel Kelly manage to share the fierce touch of the song’s irritability and the tempering touch of melody. Even Kelly’s warmer delivery has a fire in its belly at times and put all together it is a magnetic affair which only further impresses with every listen.
The following Mind’s Eye tempts with a melodic enticing before its wave of adventure surges through ears; again warm and harsher textures colluding in the persuasion. As Byrne’s strings dazzle, Kelly’s voice is a magnet with the dirty throat grazing of Houston a predacious element in the fire. Swiftly the track outshines its predecessor, finding uniqueness in craft and magnetism which was a touch more latent in the song before. Its roar continues to seduce and challenge bringing a greedier appetite to the fore for the EP’s tempting before Cataclysm comes at ears from a distance with gusto and a web of sonic intrigue. The guitars cast a web of suggestiveness as rhythms prowl, the scowls of Houston lyrically and emotionally scar the senses and as keys add their grace, a Linkin Park like tempting blossoms to lace the arising metalcore tempest with further imagination; the track, as the last outshone the first, out burning the second.
T.O.D. descends on the senses with rapacious intent and tenacity next, guitars and vocals offering a flavoursome mix of design and intensity with the guest vocals of Christina Rotondo bringing extra beauty to the seduction. Though arguably not as bold musically as the songs before it, the track sizzles on the ear before making way for the concluding throes of Heavy Heart. Again an atmospheric, almost haunting start has the imagination swiftly engaged, its suggestiveness continuing as a volatile climate erupts. For personal tastes, the track does not build on its great start as successfully as it might though there are certain moments where it is a magnet. Nevertheless it makes for an enjoyable end to a release as suggested grows with every listen.
Dream Awake has not quite established their full individual character of sound yet but the potent signs are there within their new EP. With a bolder adventure in the writing and maybe greater diversity in the still pleasing attack of Houston, you can expect the five-piece to turn their undoubted potential into genre pushing success and hopefully with plenty more fiercely pleasing outings like Don’t Hold Your Breath along the way.
Don’t Hold Your Breath is released August 18th
Pete RingMaster 15/08/2017
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