"Memories of a Dream" (Arise Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Arwen's debut CD, "Memories Of A Dream," combines traditional heavy metal with gothic, power, classical, and progressive influences. Arwen features eight members and that allows for an expansive sound – bordering on the symphonic at times. It's obvious that the average four or five member band can multi-track their instruments to make themselves like a heavy metal orchestra in the studio, but at least in Arwen's case the benefit of having eight members would be the ability to duplicate their studio sound in the live setting without having to resort backing tapes.

While there is no doubt that Arwen's sound is rich in texture it is also technically proficient. At no time does the band's sound seem cluttered or does any one instrument or vocal seem to overwhelm anything else going on. That being said, "Memories Of A Dream," still takes many listens to fully absorb. The many layers of lead and backing vocals (both male and female), two lead guitarists, two keyboardists, and the complexity of the band’s arrangements are a bit much to absorb in one sitting or casual listening.

The eleven tracks on "Memories Of A Dream" clock in at an economical 50 minutes. I say 'economical' because the band's effortless style makes the songs seem much more like 10-minute epics rather than the 5-minute length that they really are.

Despite all that is going on in Arwen's music the band manages to pull it off. Arwen's style, while not entirely original, does have its moments as a cohesive whole. I am looking forward to hearing Arwen progress in the development of the sound and style – there's too much promise in Arwen to not anticipate their next set of material.

Fans of Persephone's Dream, Brave, Alas, and Entwine will enjoy the orchestral sounds of Arwen.

"Memories Of Dread" was mastered by Mika Jussila at Finnvox Studios.

Arwen is Nacho Ruiz on vocals, Jose A. Garrido and Alberto Avilés on guitars, Luis M. Hernandez on bass, M. Carmen Castaño on backing vocals, Rosalva Alonso on keyboards, Jonathan Zapatero on keyboards, and Nacho Arriaga on drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 26 Sep 2022 13:20:31 -0400 .