(All Album Reviews by Windhawk)
(originally written for www.prog4you.com)
Neverdream hails from Italy, and from what I can grasp of the band history (written in Italian of course) they've been playing for 6 years now. Chemical Faith is their first album, following a 3 track EP released in 2005.
And kudos to the group for being ambitious, as they decided to make a concept album based on the biography of German Christiane F., a story about a young girl whose life takes a wrong turn somewhere and ends up as a drug addict and prostitute in her early teens - and survived to tell the story. It's not a happy story, but it suits Neverdream’s music perfectly. Their thing is prog metal of the darker variety; with lots of dark emotional moods being a characteristic trait in their soundscapes.
The groups has many nice ideas when it comes to creating moods that make an emotional impact on the listener, and if they had managed to achieve what I guess they have tried doing, this could have been an interesting release. But sadly, there are too many negative qualities to this release to make it interesting as such. There are parts of songs here and there that are very good, some even excellent, but as a whole this is a rather weak release.
The production is probably the weakest aspect of this release. The sound throughout the album is muddy and murky, effectively burying the finer details of the music played to a much too great extent. And the instruments cancel each other out much too often due to the muddy filter the music seemingly is played through. The vocalist has an interesting voice, but it's either placed too far up front in the mix, or drowning in muddy instrumental cascades.And when it comes to songwriting, there's too many instances of borrowed identities.
The most positive aspect of this album for me was that it worked perfectly as background music. The sound and the moods of the music were perfect for background music to be played while being concentrated on other tasks. So if you're looking for an album that can fulfill that kind of need, this release is worth checking out. But if you're the kind of person that enjoys to totally focus on listening to music; I really can't recommend this album; unless you're also the kind of person who also likes to analyze music and who takes pleasure in discovering the good bits in-between.
The curious should check out track 1 “Mother” and track 5 “Who Am I”, as these are the tracks I find a tad better than the rest.
Reviewer: Olav Björnsen