Published Mar 02, 2016Pittsburgh's Dream Death are one of America's oldest doom bands. Their 1987 debut, the primitive Journey Into Mystery, was a shining star on the long-forgotten New Renaissance label, but the quartet broke up shortly after its release and later formed the far superior Penance.
Fast-forward 25 years, and the original group reunites and records 2013's Somnium Excessum. Now, the band have a new label home on Lee Dorrian's Rise Above, and a new album, yet the band still sound as awkward as they did when Ronald Reagan was president.
It's not like their take on traditional doom is incorrect or anything; their Celtic Frost-cum-Saint Vitus worship is unnervingly intact. Musically, robust cuts like "The Other Side" and the title track effortlessly forge massive slabs of metal into riff-tastic showcases. Yet on "Expendable Blood Flow" and "The Cold Hard Light," vocalist/guitarist Brian Lawrence crams too many words into each measure; his lyrical flow is stifled in "All in Vain Start" and "Dominion" to the point that it's more than a little painful to hear.
Still, the Penance-like "In Perpetuum" hints at what could be if this line-up — coincidentally, the same that recorded Penance's 1992 debut, The Road Less Travelled — followed this path instead of the eternally clogged doom-death highway. Those who appreciate quality vocal phrasing will quickly stray, but Dissemination is ultimately made for older fans weaned on Venom and Pentagram. (Rise Above)