US screamo ensemble Dreamwell will release their sophomore album, In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You, on October 20th, 2023, via their new label home, Prosthetic Records.
Anyone hearing Dreamwell for the first time, via this record, is certainly going to find themselves quite taken with what they have to offer. Especially as the genre term ‘screamo’ conjures up an image and an expectation that certainly doesn’t do Dreamwell justice. This album and the sounds they express on it draws on post-hardcore and metalcore influences too. The overall result though, is memorable as all hell.
Let’s start by talking about the dichotomy between melodic rock and abrasive metal chaos as it is such an important feature of this record. Dreamwell’s ability to switch between the two styles is startling stuff, but perhaps even better than that, is how they work both sides in tandem. Using more dramatic elements to enhance the faster intensity, something that immediately impresses on the opening track Good Reasons to Freeze to Death.
It’s such a strong start that most will be sold on the excellence of this record already. Yet, it’s not even close to the highest point of the record. In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You is track after track of charming and contagious music. Where post metal can sound so desperately emotive with Studying the Greats in Self-Immolation and unpredictable heaviness can sound so anthemic with Lord Have MRSA On My Soul. It’s brilliant stuff.
Such brilliance and such creativity know no bounds and Dreamwell continue to push the limits with All Towers Drawn in the Equatorial Room, Obelisk of Hands, and It Will Hurt, and You Won’t Get to Be Surprised. Expanding on all the elements of their sound, showcasing even more wildness, even more depth, more earnest melody, and controlling every aspect of the tone and tempo switches with ease. Each of these tracks could easily be classed as the best thing on the album, except there is so much more still to come.
First, there is the thought-provoking and pensive Reverberations of a Sickly Wound. Then there is the absurdity of Blighttown Type Beat’s bouncy punk rock vibes. Before Body Fountain sees Dreamwell throw their all into a little over a minute of nonsensical noise. Whereas many bands would go for something a little more ‘chill’ before they go big, Dreamwell do the opposite and it’s damn fun.
Which leads to two of the longest tracks of all, Dream’t of a Room of Clouds and Rue de Noms (Could Have Been Better, Should Have Been More). The former shows Dreamwell at their moodiest, really taking their time to express a vivid array of emotions, and reaching incredible highs with both the instruments and vocals. Whereas the latter is simply a post-hardcore epic.
What more needs to be said? This is a great album and a truly impressive showcase of Dreamwell’s advancements over the past few years.
Dreamwell – In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You Track Listing:
1. Good Reasons to Freeze to Death
2. Studying the Greats in Self-Immolation
3. Lord Have MRSA On My Soul
4. All Towers Drawn in the Equatorial Room
5. Obelisk of Hands
6. It Will Hurt, and You Won’t Get to Be Surprised
7. Reverberations of a Sickly Wound
8. Blighttown Type Beat
9. Body Fountain
10. Dream’t of a Room of Clouds
11. Rue de Noms (Could Have Been Better, Should Have Been More)
Dreamwell - In My Saddest Dreams, I Am Beside You (Prosthetic Records)
The Final Score - 9/10