|Musical Style: Adventure Metal||Produced By: John Paul Peters & Dream Quest|
|Record Label: DQ Records||Country Of Origin: Canada|
|Year Released: 2004||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 9||Rating: 75%|
|Running Time: 44:59|
Dream Quest? What a great name for a power metal band! Established in 2000 by founding members Steve and M. Doerksen and Phil Janzen, Dream Quest comes from across the "frozen tundra" of Manitoba, Canada and plays what it affectionately refers to as "adventure metal". I might describe the bands full length independently released debut The Release as a combination of double bass driven power metal and speed metal certain to appeal to fans of Seventh Avenue, Jacobs Dream, Defyance and Pyramaze.
Phil Janzen reminds me a bit of Peter Stenlund (Laudamus) with his mid-octave ranged lead vocal style. And while he does an all around commendable job, he is not quite in the same league with the Lance King’s (Pyramaze, Balance Of Power) and Chaz Bond’s (Jacobs Dream) of the world. Janzen also handles bass and forms a solid rhythm section with drummer Steve Doerksen, the two combining for a plethora of rapid double bass and prominent bass lines. Guitarist M. Doerksen displays an equal amount of ability in contributing a tight rhythm guitar sound and an abundance of electrifying lead guitar work. It is also worth pointing out that Dream Quest exhibits a great deal of confidence in its instrumental sound, the band showcasing its musicianship best on tracks such as "Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today", "The 11th Hour" and "Anthem Of The World".
The Release gives prominence to crisp and clean sounding production values featuring just the right amount of polish. A more than adequate amount of rhythm guitar is backed by a solid mix of lead guitar and bass. A terrific drum sound allows the double bass to perfectly stand out in the mix.
Album opener "Facekicker" kicks in (no pun intended) to a fast paced double bass driven riff that carries it ahead at breakneck speed. Slowing as deep sounding vocal harmonies enter the mix, the song regains its momentum for a chorus coming across in the form of a battle cry:
Don't run away!
Fight him 'til we die!
A tradeoff between the rhythm guitar and bass opens an instrumental passage ending to several seconds of fiery lead guitar work. "Facekicker" deals with the fall of man in addition to providing a warning against the devils lies and schemes:
No one saw it coming, it hit us from behind
The universe did not rehearse the way it would unwind
Don't listen to his words
Don't listen to his lies
It's you he'll despise
Kick some face! We'll fight him 'til we die!
The albums title track opens to a bouncing guitar riff that impels it forward at a steady mid-tempo pace. After gradually gaining impetus, the song culminates upon arriving at a good double bass driven chorus. M. Doerksen's super tight melodic flavored riffing helps carry an awesome two minute long instrumental passage.
Immediately launching into a fast paced double bass driven riff, "I Am Commander" quickly advances with a plethora of upbeat energy to an anthemic chorus addressing the issue of anxiety:
Not one day has worry added to my life
Trouble worries for itself
Years have passed me by
I've wasted them now my mind's in disarray
Several seconds of edgy rhythm guitar opens an instrumental passage carried by more of M. Doerksen's sharp sounding lead guitar work.
"Wonder" proceeds slowly through its first verse until deep sounding vocal harmonies step forward and lead the way to an epic flavored chorus pointing to the person of Christ:
Many times I wonder why You
Stretched across the cross for me
Your life for my life now I live to give You glory
I do not deserve it, Your concern remains a mystery
This is song is sung to raise up Your name in majesty
Following an instrumental passage highlighted by a flashy guitar solo backed by double bass, "Wonder" stops dead in its tracks as its chorus is underscored by a quietly played guitar line and more double bass.
"Doppelganger" is a brief (2:45) but very well done instrumental carried by an acoustic guitar.
"Yesterday's Tomorrow, Today" begins to a bizarre conversation between two men talking about the direct consequences relating to the end of the world:
Well, there won't be any more concerts for a million years or so...
Launching into a hard hitting riff reinforced by pounding double bass, the song slows upon reaching its first verse only to pick back up in pace for a strong chorus driven at an upbeat tempo. Dream Quest showcases the strength of its musicianship throughout an extensive two and a half minute long instrumental passage.
"The 11th Hour" is by far the albums strongest track. The song takes off in a fast paced manner before tapering off upon reaching its first verse. Abruptly picking up in pace, "The 11th Hour" peaks for an energy-laden chorus underscored by rapid double bass. M. Doerksen tops things off with a minute and a half of lead guitar work that is nothing less than jaw dropping. "The 11th Hour" talks about making the correct eternal decision:
Every minute brings you closer to your last
When everything is said and done will you regret your past
You can't walk the fence forever
Soon it will be now or never
You're not above this fate
Time won't discriminate
"Subvenio" is an epic orchestral metal piece driven by Gregorian chanting and a prominently mixed bass line. As the song gains impetus, huge choir-like vocal harmonies take over and briefly dominate the mix. The vocal harmonies give way to more Gregorian chanting only to return before the song closes to a fast paced riff that segues into "Anthem Of The World".
Introduced to double bass driven riff bordering on speed metal, "Anthem Of The World" progresses at breakneck speed until it transitions to a sweeping chorus underlined by a touch of vocal harmonies. The vocal harmonies return just prior to an instrumental passage featuring a minute of superlative lead guitar work. "Anthem Of The World" is about God's eternal Kingdom:
Rise up children of Adam and sing for we have been rescued
The darkness that overshadowed the Earth is clearing
Now look see what the future brings hope for all eternity
Evil has lost its power and good will reign supreme
On The Release Dream Quest showcases the potential to become a driving force in the burgeoning Christian power metal movement. However, a few notable areas of improvement exist. While the album certainly contains no filler, I might describe its material as good to very good but not quite great. Within that context, the challenge facing Dream Quest is to improve its songwriting skills in order to come up with even better compositions featuring catchier choruses and more noteworthy melodies. The area of lead vocals, at the same time, potentially prevents the band from reaching greater acclaim. While Phil Janzen does a commendable job with his mid-octave ranged voice, I cannot help but think someone with the range of Lance King or charisma of Chaz Band would better complement the bands sound.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: "Facekicker" (4:01), "The Release" (5:49), "I Am Commander" (6:32), "Wonder" (4:32), "Doppelganger" (2:47), "Yesterday’s Tomorrow, Today" (6:15), "11th Hour" (5:46), "Subvenio" (2:50), "Anthem Of The World" (6:21)
Phil Janzen – Lead Vocals & Bass
M. Doerksen – Guitars
Steve Doerksen – Drums & Percussion
Also Reviewed: Dream Quest - Centralia