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Dream Alive was co-founded by Nik Phoeniks and Ramon Ryder. They were brought together by a mutual desire to create a transcendent body of work with expansive sound. After looking at their influences - Pink Floyd, Muse and Journey - they realized they needed to get their numbers up. They are accompanied by drummer Stanley Love, guitarist Karan Parikh and bassist Martin Fredriksson.
Together, they work to combine their classic rock roots with their modern rock influences. The product of which is their self-produced debut album, Before The Dawn.
Right off the bat, we are hit with a classic piano, drums and guitar rock combo. Then come in the vocals that speak of missing another and wanting to “See You Tonight.” The song develops and vocal harmonies emerge while the instrumentals stick to fundamental rocking. This is the mix of modern and classic rock that the band aims for.
The first single they released, “Don’t Say No,” utilizes the same mechanics to achieve a similar sound. The band describes the album as having an uplifting theme, pointing to songs like “See You Tonight” and “We All Move On” to prove their point. I prefer the less triumphant tracks.
While the theme is one of overcoming adversity and battling your fears, some songs have a dreary feel to them. For example, “Waiting So Long” is a slow, sad song. The triumphant guitar is swapped for a telling one and the all-out drums for some soothing piano. The vocalist talks about having nothing left to lose and questions if this is all he’ll ever be. Similarly, “Chains” takes the darker route. A short song, it starts off quiet and sad, then gets loud and sad. This gloomy building in volume, both in size and sound, is found on a couple other tracks on the EP.
The album’s title track, “Before The Dawn,” is a short song that is evocative of Pink Floyd. It starts silent and builds to a big layered sound; first just guitar, then drums, some keyboard, maybe an acoustic guitar and then vocals.
The song is not complete however, without the violins that come in halfway through. They are essential to making it the beautifully melancholy track that it is. I believe the message of the song to be that the dawn should be the only thing that can stop you from chasing your dreams.
The EP finishes with “We All Move On” that starts with a piano reminiscent of The Beatles’ song “Let It Be” and, again, eventually builds into the whole band. At first, the vocals serve to give us words of inspiration but then take a back seat to the instruments, giving them another chance to showcase their sound.
In the end, I feel like there are two different bands. One with the darker sound and one that triumphs over all with rock. I like the former but the jury is still out on the latter.
Songs to Note: “We all Move On,” “See You Tonight” and “Before The Dawn”
Image via Facebook from Dream Alive