Dreamwalkers Inc – The First Tragedy Of Klahera
Dreamwalkers Inc is a Dutch six-piece band with big ambitions and bigger stories to tell. On their sophomore release, they use two primary vocalists and additional voices to handle the cast of characters that provide narration throughout the record. The primary genre this band fits in is Prog Rock/Metal, but do not try to contain them in a box with a single label on it. Dreamwalkers Inc covers a wide variety of styles and sounds, ranging from Jazz to Neo-Classical to different versions of World Music. Each member brings something to the table meant to push the boundaries, thus creating a comprehensive album that surely has something for almost everyone.
- Tom de Wit – Lead and Backing Vocals/Synths
- Radina Dimcheva – Lead and Backing Vocals
- Lennert Kemper – Guitars
- Norbert Veenbrink – Guitars
- Bjorn van der Ploeg – Bass
- Sander van Elferen – Drums
- Iris de Boer – Voice of ‘Klahera’
- Richard de Geest (My Arrival, Sylvium) – Voice of ‘Sonfred/Elder’
- Rich Gray (Aeon Zen, Annihilator) – Voice of ‘Syrrus’
- Holly Royle (Disconnected Souls) – Voice of ‘Syriana’
- Rania Bailey – Voice of ‘Megonia’
November 24, 2023 https://www.layered-reality.com/
- Justice, My Tragedy
- Child of the Bloodmoon
- Broken Puzzle Piece
- It Lives
- Knowledge From Afar
- Mother Dearest
- Heroes And Charlatans
- Chain of Consequences
Set in a time when superstition and religion held more sway than science and technology, The First Tragedy Of Klahera is the story of a girl found in the woods who grows up to do something girls are not meant to do; think. From the outset, she is suspected of being different based solely on her eyes. It is possible those who fear her see an intelligence that scares them. Lyrically, this album explores this theme in depth, taking us through the life of Klahera as she grows and questions the old wisdom, causing her parents to do what so many elders have done over time; push conformity. The first peer pressure most children face is from their parents.
Musically, the album is everywhere. Just when you think Dreamwalkers Inc cannot go somewhere, they go there. You will hear gentle, lilting melodies, dark jazz sections, world music, shredding metal, and time/tempo shifts that make even seasoned Prog lovers clutch their pearls. For a great example of this, check out “Despicable,” a track that shifts in and out of a dark Jazzy tone. The non-Jazz segments range from Melodic Hard Rock to an almost Thrash-like Metal.
The story covers a variety of topics. We have the elders condemning Klahera for trying to question the old ways, and the parents initially supporting their recalcitrant daughter as they push her to become something extraordinary while trying to get her to “go along to get along.” Klahera rebels and questions and tries to figure out why she is different from everyone else. Social ostracism is not a new thing, despite what kids today think. The listener just knows there is more to the story than what we hear on the surface. Keep listening, more will be revealed
The additional voices that narrate the story advance the tale with spoken word in some of the songs, carrying the tale from one song to the next, driving it forward, and giving us clues as to what is coming next. This journey is linear, going forward without using a lot of flashback work. We watch Klahera grow and become her true self, a powerful woman capable of surviving the world despite there being a witch hunt against her. There are also themes of “history being written by the winner” in “Knowledge From Afar” and how Klahera knows something is wrong with the festival in “Celebration” because the story they honor just feels off. Klahera doesn’t believe in something just because that’s how it has always been.
Running almost 90 minutes, there is time for Dreamwalkers Inc to explore Klahera’s growth lyrically and musically. Mirroring the words is the music, which has struggle, triumph, agony, ecstasy, fear, and joy. There is a true variety of musical styles that shift and twist and turn through the phases of life. At 13-plus minutes, “Mother Dearest” is one of the best examples of the Progressive stylings of the band. There are time and tempo shifts, genre changes, multiple vocal patterns, and horns. Yes, horns. In Heavy Metal. It’s a thing, embrace it. It ROCKS!
The sheer diversity of the music on this album is astounding. There is such a wild variety it becomes almost incomprehensible. I heard one riff and thought immediately of Metal Church, then heard a Dream Theater series of tones later in the same song. Is this the musical equivalent of Frankenstein’s Monster???? If so, the persecution Klahera endures is then perfectly exemplified by the music. The words and sounds match each other, creating a soundtrack to a mental movie that will play in your mind if you immerse yourself deep enough into this epic creation.
Dreamwalkers Inc has crafted one of the best concept albums of the last decade, rivaling bands like Seven Spires and Unleash The Archers. This disc is complex and nuanced. You will not catch everything it offers in a single playthrough. Do yourself a favor and put it on a loop, go through it three times, then come back and tell me I’m wrong. Bet you can’t.
MZ Ratings –
- Guitars – 10
- Rhythms – 10
- Vocals – 10
- Songwriting – 9
- Production – 9
Overall – 9.60