Next time a band tells me that their new material is some of the heaviest stuff they’ve ever done, I hope I have a drink to hand so I can scoff into it dramatically. Anthony Notarmaso, ATB’s vocalist certainly seemed proud of the material that the band were writing some months ago, but calling In Dreams a heavier album than 2008’s Rareform would be a rather large mistake. In Dreams represents a band with a somewhat more measured and mature approach to their metallic craft, and whilst that’s certainly commendable considering how schizophrenic Rareform was at times, the album still sacrifices a fair amount of intensity in favour of melody.
Things start off powerfully enough with the opening duo of My Frailty and Your Troubles Will Cease And Fortune Will Smile Upon You; the former is filled with ginormous, fast riffs and a fair few pounding rhythms whilst the latter is perhaps the best song Meshuggah have never written, thanks to a crushing beat, jagged tempo and Notarmaso’s most powerful vocal performance to date. But it’s predecessor, Pendulum represents the other half of In Dreams with its uninspiring melodies and somewhat dull rhythms. With only 8 tracks on offer, the fact that almost half of them end up going nowhere particularly interesting cripples the album from being anything other than pretty good. Still, when In Dreams does get going, (case in point, the quite thrash-tastic Sleeper), it can still dazzle. After The Burial are still stupidly talented and execute everything on this album with a high degree of skill, but there’s a little bit too much desire to represent both light and shade in equal measures when their darkest moments are usually their best.