Quicksand Dream [Sweden]
Aelin – A Story About Destiny
Independent/Planet Metal Records (Reissue)
I was slightly skeptical when I first received the digital promo for the album. With so many bands nowadays claiming to create “epic” heavy metal, and most failing to hit the mark, it became hard to believe a band if they (or their record label, for that matter) claim to play an epic style of melodic heavy metal. I therefore did not have particularly high hopes for Quicksand Dream‘s debut album, no thanks to those black sheep who have spoiled the name of the genre.
Quicksand Dream‘s Aelin – A Story About Destiny was originally released in 2000, with only 30 copies pressed on CD-R format, making the original pressing of the album an extremely rare find. After 10 years, this little known album has finally gained sufficient attention to be reissued on both vinyl and CD, spreading their brand of epic heavy metal.
The opening Prologue begins the album with a folk-inspired riff, giving an almost majestic feel of the music (think of Folkearth or Tyr riffs with typical early-80s production quality). The other thing that particularly stood out were the prominent bass lines, reminiscent of Black Sabbath‘s Geezer Butler, something that will carry on throughout the album, giving this album a promising start. Throughout the album, the guitar riffing and soloing styles are reminiscent of early 80s and 70s hard rock bands, such as Rainbow, and that certainly isn’t a bad thing at all. Another thing that was noticed was how guitarist Patrick, instead of choosing the usual shred-friendly route, choose to pluck out tasteful notes and lay down their solos in a style befitting of the overall musical theme of the album. On tracks such as The Lighthouse Dream, the band further displays their musical versatility with influences from genres such as jazz-fusion displayed on the instrumental sections.
Instrumental-wise, the spotlight in the album seems to be on the bass guitar. The strong bass presence throughout the album was definitely one of the main reasons why this album stood out from the sea of metal albums that have the bass guitar buried deep in the mix, and also one of the reasons why this album was particularly enjoyable for me. While some bassist stick to the boring bass lines, emulating the main guitar riffs, bassist Patrick constantly improvises over the main body of the music, adding his personal touch to the songs.
However, one main thing that takes some getting used to is vocalist Göran’s style, an almost lazy, laid back styled drawl, yet somehow fitting to the music. Also, true to early 80s heavy metal, the production quality is very raw by heavy metal standards, and the guitar tones were thin and crisp (though I very much prefer fat and warm tones), which could very easily turn away people who prefer a more modern production quality.
This album is certainly old school heavy metal done right, sounding like an updated version of 70s and 80s hard rock/heavy metal, a fitting tribute to the founders of the entire heavy metal genre. The reissue of the album has certainly ensured that this masterpiece does not fade into obscurity for some time to come.