Dream Awake – ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ (Self-Released) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Jonni D   
Wednesday, 23 August 2017 04:30

Dream Awake artworkHaving cut their creative teeth on their debut EP, ‘Pathfinder’, Dream Awake look set to cause quite a stir in their local scene with their second release, ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath.’ 


To pigeonhole the Belfast-based five piece simply as a metalcore act does them a disservice, for the material on this follow-up EP is indicative of a band with lofty ambitions, but also the musical ability to match.  Unlike many of the more established acts of their ilk, Dream Awake display an impressive melodic prowess when it comes to their compositions, as well as a knack for ensuring the listener’s engagement through serpentine song progressions.


Opening track, ‘The Weathering’ (featuring a guest spot from Napoleon’s Wes Thompson), encapsulates the band’s proficiency at melding melody with captivating atmospherics.  At points reminiscent of Northlane or even Deftones at their more esoteric moments, Dream Awake successfully marries the heavier elements of the music with the ethereal ambience of the lead guitars.  The results are quite stunning, captivating the listener both through the breadth of the sonic soundscapes, as well as the pleasingly unpredictable nature of the song arrangement.  It’s a feature common to all of tracks on here, each one unrestrained by any adherence to a metalcore formula.   


The clean, legato guitar intro to ‘Mind’s Eye’ leads into one of the strongest hooks on ‘Don’t Hold Your Breath.’  Immediately memorable, and yet in no way pandering, the refrain in this song highlights the strength of the vocal work on this release, courtesy of David Houston (screams) and Conor Kelly (cleans/guitar).  Successfully manoeuvring the harsh verse/sung chorus cliché, the pair interweave their parts with an organic fluctuation that is frequently magnetic atop the consistently stellar instrumentation. 


When Dream Awake focuses on the more overtly heavy, riff-laden material, they prove themselves to be fully adept.  ‘Cataclysm’ boasts a rollicking groove to the main riff, with the ever reliable lead guitar adding moments of melodic flourish or dissonance as appropriate.  The more aggressive passages of ‘Heavy Heart’ are masterfully juxtaposed by the spacious, reverberated moments, each in turn accentuating the other by sonic contrast. 



‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ is remarkably impressive for being only the second release from such a young band.  Showing more musical dexterity and control than numerous touted acts in the metalcore world, it’s a safe bet to expect great things from Dream Awake. 


‘Don’t Hold Your Breath’ is out now.  You can get your copy HERE.


Dream Awake play an EP launch show, with Alpha Twin, Ketos and Mugged By A Ghost’, at Bar Sub, Queen’s University Students’ Union on Friday (25 August).




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