Quicksand Dream - Aelin - A Story About Destiny
Planet Metal
Epic Heavy Metal
7 songs (51'15")
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Alex
Surprise of the month

There are two ways to create an epic sound in heavy metal. Lately, if you have a budget you can just go out and hire some philharmonic orchestra, whether you play melodic (Rhapsody), power (Iced Earth) or ‘pseudo’-black (Dimmu Borgir) metal. If your name is so obscure you only had one demo to your name distributed among friends and now you embark on a full concept album, the only way for you to put up an epic is to stick with a big booming narrative. In other words, the only thing you can rely upon is your own ingenuity to couple with some big riffs.

It seems that those riffs (with a capital R) was what Quicksand Dream used more than a decade ago, and now, for whatever reason, the only album released by this unknown Swedish band is to be reissued by Chicago’s Planet Metal. Actually, if you think about it, the reason to re-release this lost gem is actually exactly that – to show how a grand picture can be created on the strength of boulder moving riffs, active, attention grabbing bass and rumbling booming sound. Manilla Road fans should have their attention be peaking at this moment.

It is actually good that this Swedish band did not plunge into their The Lighthouse Dream sixteen minute marathon from the get-go. This centerpiece, located towards the end of the album, takes a while to unfold, and one needs to get used to Quicksand Dream at first. In the unhurried melodic development, the band likes to weave lengthy leads into their heavy riffs, with a great deal of harmonizing between the multiple guitar parts. To be sure, Quicksand Dream can be heavy and strip it down to the bare chords as well (House of Wisdom), but for the most part Aelin is about layered guitars sitting atop constantly prancing bass. My favorite moments came when the band stepped the tempo up and rocked it out a bit faster without losing their anthemic melodies and authenticity on Caress of the Breeze and Road Goes Ever On.

The other point I needed to adjust to was Goran Jacobson’s stretchy preachy singing style. Sounding stoned at times, the vocals on Aelin could fit with a number of retro doom bands, like Witchcraft or even Candlemass, even if Goran lacks the range of Messiah Marcolin. At any rate, however, the overall result of Quicksand Dream did more for me than, say, recently hailed Athlantean Kodex. The Swedes manage to create a lot more intrigue with their songs, a lot more storytelling diversity, instead of simply rolling the same riffs on and on. Their songwriting prowess is clearly demonstrated on the songs like the closer Aelin’s Oath, which unfolds like a Gaussian curve. Beginning as a dreamy ballad, the track continues to build grit until it chugs heavily, climaxing into double bassed section carrying multiple guitar leads before collapsing to an abrupt end. In this way, Quicksand Dream in scope is a lot like Wuthering Heights, where each song is a mini-story with its own prologue and epilogue.

I can guarantee that the most knowledgeable epic metal fans never heard of Quicksand Dream, and I am hopeful that this review will at least prompt them to check out this reissue. At minimum, they will have no regrets and it is possible they will be acquiring another jewel in their collections, sorcery subject matter on the album being a fitting piece in the overall jigsaw puzzle.

Killing Songs :
Caress of the Breeze, Road Goes Ever On, Aelin's Oath
Alex quoted 78 / 100
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