Welcome to the Theater

Cardinal Sin

Haloes and Wings

Gates of Heaven

Sea of Oblivion


Revelating Paradise

Light above all

Crimson Dream

Kee Jason - guitars

Frode Hovd - guitars

Terje Haroy - vocals

Stian D. Rodsjo - synth

Kenneth Skarsvaag - bass

Olav Skei - drums

Maria Garli - piano, synth

MEMORIZED DREAMS:  "Theater of Life"    debut album   memorized dreams        
Recorded and mixed at Skansen Studio
Mastered by Tommy Newton at Area 51 Studios
Produced by Stein Bratland and Memorized Dreams 
Cover artwork by Jean Pascal Fournier

review  by Marco "Norman Knight" Signore____   

Memorized DreamS are a band proposing a good Melodic Metal spiced up with some hints of Power Metal. The band dates back to 1999, founded by the Guitarist Kee Janson – after a substantial change of name, lineup and musical style, the Memorized Dreams recorded a demo in 2002 and finally, after hicking up a new drummer, Olav Skei, the band records this debut album, Theater of Life.

The album opens with a dark and menacing intro (called Welcome to the Theater), that gives way to Cardinal Sin. The vocals by Therie Horoy don’t give the best this vocalist can do, but are nicely measured up against a typically power metal drum and bass line. This song is quite plain hard rock mixed up with power metal but the central section is innovative in the intelligent use of synthesisers (played by Stian Redsjo) and mixing effects.

A muted drum track of drum introduces Haloes and Wings, that suddenly explodes in a very good Hard Rock song. The vocalist Horoy seems more at ease with this song and the guitars are played to a good effect, while the rhythm section abandons the standard track of power metal to use a more effective hard rock base. The guitar soloes in up’n’down instead of the usual sweep picking also recall the 80s and the whole song is quite good to the listener’s ears and every hard rock touch fits nicely with this track.

We step curiosly throught the Gates of Heaven, the third track in this album, and again find a power metal song in the typical northern style. The voical line this time is stronger and harsher, and very well counterpointed. The results of the guitar hammering and the drum and bass line is a very “Halloween-like” song, again quite pleasant to our ears. And suddenly the song is muted… the electric piano supported by a distant organ flies under an almost angelic choir that leads us to a riff of vibrato organ moving on a carpet of guitar chords and vocal intricacies to the final refrain.

The piano  introduces Sea of Oblivion, as the voice walks on this carpet of notes, this time with the graceful addition of a female voice, and a choir marking the beginning of the refrain. This song is a delicate ballad, that would not be out of place in any kind of music, to be honest, well played and with almost the right atmosphere (in a sense recalling Genesis’ “For Absent Friends” with more piano and no guitars). Honestly I expected to hear a guitar solo in the best hard rock tradition… and instead I have been surprised by the fact that this ballad is completely piano and vocals. A very good idea indeed, although the lyrics and the piano melody are a bit lacking in originality.

But it is time to go into Neverland, and this song is quite different from the ones heard hitherto. Aggressive guitars, atmospheric synth pad, and the vocal line is appropriate enough to the song. The melodies and riffs are once more a bit projected back into the eighties – but the refrain becomes a sort of mid-tempo power riff, with strong Helloween influences again. And I must tell that the refrain is the weakest part in an otherwise good song: the vocal groove here is not excellent and the melodies and the rhythms sound out of place. My compliments go to the guitars, instead, with a good choice of effects, especially in the short riffs during the vocal parts.  Oh, too bad for the refrain!!!

Revelating Paradise is the track that follows… the listener is immediately slammed into the hard song without warning, and the result is good – no needless intros, just guitar and a good rhythm section with an insinuative bass drum. Even the refrain goes on with this obsessive double bass drum underneath. This song is surely one of the best in the album, but I must object that the vocalist here doesn’t give his best shot. Good guitar riffs, very melodic metal-styled, but in this song I must point out the excellent drumming of Olav Skei, maybe his best performance in the whole album.

With Light Above All we find another Rock song, but this time maybe the strongest point is the refrain, in a good show of a melody that opens up, with a mid-tempo well performed by the good Skei, that offers another good show in the bridge, playing a nice tom fill to introduce a very hard rock guitar solo that is not even an inch out of place in this song, and gives way to a synth riff with a phased voice to lead us to the final part of the song. I found this piece the second best expression of this band, with a good mix of the musicians abilities.

Crimson Dream closes the disc, with a haunting and psychotic voice that explodes in a mid-tempo song with nervous guitar riffs – that suddenly give way to an acoustic guitar arpeggio held by ominous organ minor chords and the voice above all, without a single effect (except a pan potting), in a part that would have been perfect even in a prog-psychedelic album of the seventies (I almost expected Vandergraaf Generator’s saxofone incursions at one point!). This song is really beautiful, without doubt the best in the whole album, and the best by several lenghts! Violins introduce the second part of the song as the bass riffs to intrduce a modulation synthesizer solo – but the guitars don’t give rest and climb higher in a splendid solo in this piece that alone could rescue a whole undertone album. Very good, very well performed, very nice ideas.

This band has ideas and potential to go on. Maybe the weak spot is the fact that they want to stick too much to the Helloween style of Power metal. If they had done most of the album with songs like Crimson Dream, then this debut album would have been a rare gem indeed. But some of the songs are a bit weak, and I think that the road Memorized Dreams should follow is not in the melodic power metal, but in the experimental like the last song. Oh boys, Crimson Dream ROCKS! 

Overall, the album is a good debut, but in the norm enough to risk to be overlooked. Fans of the melodic power will find it good, but I ask to everyone to listen to the last track… and I humbly suggest Memorized Dream to follow on with THAT style. In my humble opinion, that is their way, in which they are very good and without effort!

: 6.5/10  


Marco Signore    

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