It’s been a while since everybody’s second-favourite entry-level power metal band, Dream Evil, reared their collective heads. The band who started as an excuse for Scandinavian producer extraordinaire Fredrik Nordström to get out from behind the desk, and who brought you Gus G and Snowy Shaw along the way, have been laying dormant since 2010. Now they’re back, just as bombastic and tongue-in –cheek as ever, ready to preach the Law of Heavy Metal with their sixth long-player, the majestically-titled, uh… Six!
Six is a record that sits comfortably alongside any that Dream Evil have put out in the past, and one which proves the band haven’t lost one iota of their passion and commitment to heavy music in the interim since their criminally-overlooked fifth full-length In The Night (2010). From the moment “Dream Evil” opens the record, it’s hard to imagine it hasn’t been a staple of the band since their inception, and its follow-up “Antidote” likewise fit effortlessly into their already formidable catalogue. However, it’s the quasi-ballad “Creature of the Night” that truly steals the show, forming the centrepiece of the album, and is sure to be a live favourite for years to come.
If there’s something that sets Six apart from Dream Evil’s prior output, it’s that it takes a decidedly slower and noticeably harder rock-influenced approach to their otherwise unbudging heavy metal template. “Sin City” and “Too Loud’ have all the markings of a Whitesnake classic, albeit injected with a severe supply of pure steel along the way, while “Six Hundred And 66” has an almost Alice In Chains style drag about it. The high-octane “44 Riders” provides a late highlight—being seemingly the lovechild of Judas Priest’s infectious and anthemic odes to the road “Turbo Lover” “Rock Hard, Ride Free”. It’s undeniably cheesy chorus cry of “Friiiiidaaaaay niiiight…” has perhaps more than a touch of Journey’s “Separate Ways” about it, but heavy metal, and specifically power metal are often at their best when they’re their most over the top, and few bands take things as far as Dream Evil do, while simultaneously maintaining such a high standard of quality.
There aren’t any bad tracks per se, but there is plenty that might be classed as “filler,” especially around the album’s middle. Although Six starts with a bang, it quickly drops a lot of that appealing pace, in favour of more-reserved, mid-tempo numbers, which do tend to blend together after a while. Yet Dream Evil have always been more of a “singles band” than an “albums” one, and between its opening salvo and a few choice cuts scattered throughout, Six is a more than worthy addition to the Swede’s hefty discography.
There’s a strong argument to be made that Six is indeed the “weakest” record that Dream Evil have put their name to, due to its severe front-loading and somewhat slackened pace. However, that argument rests more on the incredibly high bar the band have set for themselves in the past, and there’s more than enough here to please long-time disciples of the heavy cause while also enticing a few new recruits along the way.