Artist: A Dream Of Poe
Title: Lady Of Shalott
Label: Self Released
The Azores in Portugal is a renowned holiday destination, and though I’ve never visited myself, having seen a few photographs of the place I can see why. It’s a million miles away from the typically grey-skied, rain-sodden, oppressive Northern England or perhaps Finland – an environment where you’d expect to find a flourishing doom metal scene. That said, all us Brits can do when faced with a bit of sunshine is moan that it’s too hot, so the theory that hot, sunny climates breeds good moods is a load of bunkum when you think about it. A Dream Of Poe, hailing as you might have already guessed from the Azores, certainly don’t make the kind of happy-crappy sun-soaked nonsense you’d expect to hear on your jollies, and for that I am thankful. What they do make is a sombre, rather poetic blend of Gothic death-doom highly recommended to fans of MDB, Katatonia and perhaps Swallow The Sun.
The EP starts off with what is easily the strongest track; ‘Lady Of Shalott’ which instantly strikes a balance between crushingly heavy strikes on the guitar and underlying dreamy acoustics. The vocals are clean and crestfallen, in a similar vein to Jonas Renkse while beneath them a beautiful melody is being woven. I love the wailing vocals that emerge around the chorus, which sound incredibly haunting (I could have sworn this was a female vocalist, but stand corrected as it is in fact main vocalist Joao doing this!) The track is followed by a shortened version of the same song – this is a minor complaint, but I really think it would be better off at the end of the EP. As much as I enjoy this track, I find myself wanting to skip one of the versions to move on to the other tracks rather than hear it repeated immediately after.
Next up is a cover of Cure classic ‘If Only Tonight We Can Sleep,’ which weaves in a tender lullaby to the lengthy instrumental part that for some reason brings to mind Silent Night. I love the layering of deathly growls and clean vocals on the verse, which is really effective. ‘Laudanum’ comes storming in with a monstrously heavy melody. At times this is very heavy indeed, and the vocals are delivered with some serious power and also really draw you in. Towards the end the music fades for a moment, and a sudden downpour soaks the speakers before a wilting melody returns and takes us out. The production on this EP is top notch and really does the songs justice. The band have been around since 2005 – having released a demo, a live album and two EPs – and have just signed a record deal with Ukrainian label ARX Productions, so well done to them! Visit their MySpace where you can download this for free.