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I do love those kinds of albums that are good on initial listens only to grow more and more amazing by each spin. Those are the albums that tend to last for repeated listens and stand the test of time. The reasons for these improvements-upon-exposure vary, but generally there are details and nuances hidden within that reveals the true magic of the album in question once revealed. Skellefteå deathsters Feral's sophomore 'Where Dead Dreams Dwell' definitely belong to that category.
As if the artwork by Costin Chioreanu (who is truly becoming a modern Dan Seagrave) did not give it away, it will take the experienced listener about 15 seconds to place this album within the category of the Stockholm sound and another 15 to apprehend the rock 'n roll influences. Some would classify this as the style of death 'n roll Entombed coined in the mid 90's, but truth be told Feral leans far too much against the death part to make that comparison entirely just. Miasmal's latest effort seems like the better reference point. Still, though the focus is on the d-beat, buzzsaw guitars and excellent deep growls, the minor rock 'n roll part is the one that spawns all those hidden details that makes this quite an amazing album.
Those influences alone make this stand out from the fellow hordes of old-school worshippers. What makes 'Where Dead Dreams Dwell' a superior album though is the sheer quality of the riffs, the enjoyable rhythm section and the killer vocal lines, much due to the vibrant rock 'n roll nerve. During the first spin I could recognize that nerve as something fairly original, a few more listens and I attributed that nerve with making good guitar work suddenly become amazing.
Truth be told I am not particularly fond of death 'n roll, yet this impresses me more and more with each spin and is the perfect example of how to use rock 'n roll influences in death metal to get a more dynamic and vibrant sound without losing the death core. I could dissect certain pieces of 'Where Dead Dreams Dwell' and praise them, but that list would soon include something out of every tune on this album and be more of a spoiler if anything. This album is for each and every one to experience, so get bloody started and experience this!
If I have something negative to say? Well, it was rather lazy to include 'As the Feast Begins' from the split with Revel in Flesh. On the other hand, we all knew that song was too good to be left to an obscure split album. So I guess the answer is no, I do not have much negative to say about this.