|Musical Style: Adventure Metal||Produced By: John Paul Peters & Dream Quest|
|Record Label: Independent||Country Of Origin: Canada|
|Year Released: 2006||Artist Website:|
|Tracks: 5||Rating: 80%|
|Running Time: 33:05|
adventure metal /ədvénchәr mét’l/ ·colloq. 1 music combining blazing fast drums, mesmerizing guitars, soaring melodies, and cascades of harmonies. 2 music that is catchier than speed metal, heavier than pop-punk, and more innovative than hard rock. 3 power metal minus keyboards and dragons. 4 all of the above.
Manitoba, Canada’s Dream Quest returns in 2006 with a 5 song concept CD entitled Centralia which it recorded in follow up to its promising 2004 full length debut The Release. Still consisting of founding members Steve and M. Doerksen and Phil Janzen, Dream Quest is a talented power trio that plays what it refers to as “adventure metal”. Adventure metal? Well, while the above definition shines the needed light on the matter, I might describe Dream Quest as an effective combination of double bass driven power metal and speed metal drawing upon the influence of Sonata Arctica, Dragonforce, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Stratovarius, Judas Priest and Seventh Avenue.
In the end, Centralia does a good job showcasing the maturity gained by Dream Quest in its songwriting skills since putting out The Release. The band, for example, delivers a sound that is not only sweeping and complex (“The Fuse That Burned Too Fast”) but catchy as well (“Sonar con Aventura”). Ultimately, you will find the albums compositions to be quite technical – even progressive at times as demonstrated on the eleven minute epic “Magnified” – but well constructed in holding up under the bands creativity and the all out raw energy generated by its instrumental prowess.
Lead vocalist Phil Janzen has really outdone himself with quite the versatile showing, complementing his smooth sounding mid-octave ranged vocal style with an occasional element of grit and gravel or high pitched falsetto scream. He even spices up parts of “Magnified” with a thrash-like delivery that borders on the extreme. One of the highlights to The Release was the confidence Dream Quest exhibited in its instrumental sound. And they continue that trend here, the extended instrumental sections on “Forgiv’r”, “The Fuse That Burned Too Fast” and others allowing M. Doerksen to showcase his abundant abilities on lead guitar. Phil Janzen also handles bass and combines with drummer Steve Doerksen to form as tight as a rhythm section as this reviewer has heard.
Production values are near perfect in combining an ample amount of rhythm guitar with a fluid mix of lead guitar and punchy bass lines. The drums project the needed punch and power.
As previously stated, Centralia is a concept album. The band, nevertheless, provides the following details in regards to the concept in question:
Centralia is also a one-of-a-kind concept album. The five tracks each tell one part of an overarching story, but the order in which the songs are played changes the plot! Putting the CD player on random/shuffle determines whether the main character is good or bad, killer or dreamer, hypocrite or saint, without missing a beat! Centralia is 120 different possible stories on one album, yet the music flows equally well from song to song in any order!
Similar to many concept albums, Centralia does feature its share of narration but, fortunately, it is done in a nondescript manner and does not get in the way of the music.
Please understand that it is normally not the policy of this reviewer to go into detail regarding the lyrics to concept albums to avoid giving away whatever storyline is being conveyed. That being said, the lyrics here are well written and thought out as they detail the happenings of the albums main character.
An independent release, Centralia is available for purchase at CD Baby.
Album opener “Forgiv’r” begins quietly before the rhythm guitar crashes to the front of the mix. Advancing through its verse portions with a plethora of energetic momentum, “Forgiv’r” culminates for a sweeping chorus carried at a resolute upbeat tempo. A minute and a half long instrumental section allows Dream Quest to display the strength of its instrumental sound in no uncertain terms. This is where these guys are at their best.
“The Fuse That Burned Too Fast” is a powder keg of a track (no pun intended) that takes off to some bluesy riffing before making a time change to an all out double bass driven speed metal riff. Tapering off for its first verse, a crunchy rhythm guitar impels the song in muscular fashion until it reaches an anthem-like chorus delivered with just the right amount of sublime energy. The lead guitar work M. Doerksen cuts loose with at the start of another extensive instrumental section is nothing less than jaw dropping.
The progressive rock masterpiece “Magnified” draws upon elements of metal thrash and even jazz-rock-fusion. The song gets underway to a two minute instrumental section that starts as ethereal guitar feedback is carried over a punchy bass line. Once the rhythm guitar hammers its way to a place of prominence, it takes “Magnified’ to its first verse where the bass continues to play a commanding role. Making an abrupt time change to an acoustic guitar for its second verse, the song gains momentum as the rhythm guitar returns and leads the way to a chorus with a great catchy hook. An awesome three and a half minute long instrumental section is carried by tight sounding rhythm guitar harmony until a transition is made to a passage with a jazz-fusion feel to it. I like how the song closes out its final minute in an aggressively delivered thrash-like direction.
“Sonar con Adventura” opens to clashing symbols that give way to several seconds of open air rhythm guitar. Slowing to a quietly played guitar line for its first verse, the song picks up in pace as the rhythm guitar returns in time to shore up an infectious chorus interweaved with a touch of vocal harmonies. A minute long instrumental section highlights a fluid guitar solo that brings to mind Chris Impellitteri. Great song.
Anyone who has visited Dream Quest’s website is certain to have gained an appreciation for the bands sense of wit (just check out the FAQ section if in doubt!). And that sense of wit in question is best displayed in the title to the albums closing track “Eenie, Meeny, Miny, Die!”
Introduced to a few brief seconds of quietly played guitar, “Eenie, Meeny, Miny, Die!” takes off to a hard hitting riff before a touch of vocal harmonies accentuates the frenetic environment. The song proceeds to forge through its first and second verse in a double bass driven manner before reaching an authoritative chorus backed by a pounding wall of rhythm guitar.
Dream Quest does a good job showcasing its strengths in the areas of musicianship and instrumental sound on Centralia. The band, at the same time, exhibits the maturity gained in its songwriting skills on the progressive influenced “Magnified” and the catchy “Sonar con Aventura”. Energetic hard rockers such as “The Fuse That Burned Too Fast” and “Eenie, Meeny, Miny, Die!” hold up equally well. In closing, being that this is a 5 song EP, it has only served to wet my appetite for the bands exciting brand of “adventure metal”. I look forward to hearing a full length effort from these guys next time around.
Review by: Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Forgiv’r” (4:32), “The Fuse That Burned Too Fast” (6:25), “Magnified” (10:48), “Sonar con Adventura” (5:40), “Eenie, Meeny, Miny, Die!” (5:38)
Phil Janzen – Lead Vocals & Bass
M. Doerksen – Bass
Steve Doerksen – Drums
Also Reviewed: Dream Quest – The Release