Dreaming Dead

What is a midnightmare? Is it having a nightmare at midnight? Or a nightmare in the middle of a nightmare? I think that answer lies with Dreaming Dead, and it’s a lot of Death worship with some classic-Swedish metal (particularly Eucharist) thrown into the mix. Normally, this would not at all be a bad thing. Death is one of my all-time favorite bands (I know I’ve been enjoying the re-releases that Relapse has been throwing our way) and I enjoy a lot of what Sweden has in their brand of death metal, not just the melodic variety either. Dreaming Dead is lacking what made those bands great – catchy, headbanging riffs in a comprehensible technical form.

Don’t get me wrong, Dreaming Dead is not lacking of talent. “Overlord” has a pretty technical main riff going on and a nice, blistering lead in the middle of the song. The addition of clean guitars for the breakdown mixes it up – a little unexpected – before returning to the main riff. There is also a pretty good melodic lead in “Exile” that is contrasted to the more stuttering main riffs. Of course, it’s not all death metal all the time, as Dreaming Dead does take the chance to explore a more progressive side with various sound effects and use of different percussive instruments and clean guitars, such as on the opening introduction track, “Wake”, the closing instrumental track “Departure”, and “In Memoriam” – an instrumental track that recalls some of Sound of Perseverance and Eucharist‘s Mirrorworlds with its suspended arpeggios and strummed minor third power chords, although it does drag on at nearly six and a half minutes and lack of any direction.

Throughout the album, Elizabeth Schall – guitars and lead vocals – does her best Chuck Schhuldiner impression. She has the lower register that he was using during Human and Symbolic but does not really do much to mix it up (no high pitches) however, she is sometimes accompanied by bassist Juan Ramirez and drummer Mike Caffell for some pretty dense, and brutal layered vocals. The slow, doom-paced track “Lapse” and the more epic “Corpse Mountain” are some standout examples of the vocal layering.

There is nothing inherently wrong with Dreaming Dead‘s sophomore album. Sonically it does sound good, with each instrument, even the bass(!), getting equal attention, and they even got Travis Smith – purveyor of most modern metal album covers – to do the artwork for Midnightmares. All I know is that I’ll just wake up from the Midnightmare and not remember anything except for a female, zombie Chuck Schulinder fronting a Death tribute band that also happens to mix in Eucharist into their sound.


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Travis Bolek
June 14th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Staylow

    Nice comparison there with Death and Eucharist, but I couldn’t disagree anymore with the rest of it – this album rules, just as their debut did. Fanfuckingtastic stuff here. I have no problems remembering any of it – it may take more than a listen or two, but this is quality shit.

  2. Commented by: Odovacar

    Glad you like it. :) It just didn’t stick with me, and I definitely see the potential there. Maybe their third album will do something for me.

  3. Commented by: Staylow

    Oh – where’s the album art?

  4. Commented by: Odovacar

    …I don’t know…

  5. Commented by: E. Thomas
  6. Commented by: legumbrera

    I loved this album too. I Think that it is very well written and played, Elizabeth does a fantastic job.

  7. Commented by: Liz Schall

    Nope, not a Death fan at all, but enough to know how to spell the dude’s last name.


  8. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    my old punk band had a song called Tonightmare.
    that is all.

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