Dream Unending – Song of Salvation (Review)

Dream Unending - Song of SalvationThis is the second album from Canadian/US death/doom metallers Dream Unending.

Song of Salvation contains 44 minutes of atmospheric death/doom metal. The band features two members, who are in bands such as Outer Heaven, Sumerlands, Tomb Mold, and Vestal Claret, and between them they create an immersive tapestry of slow, mood-focused doom that’s as compelling and well-realised as it is enjoyable.

The core of Song of Salvation is a heavily atmospheric form of death/doom that falls somewhere between bands such as early Paradise Lost and early Anathema on the one hand, and Mournful Congregation and Aphonic Threnody on the other. Taken together, Song of Salvation is an album that takes the various visions of doom from bands like these and uses them as a base on which to build colossal doom structures of shimmering otherworldly radiance and ethereal atmosphere.

Amidst the towering doom riffs and the spectral, dreamy melodies are progressive influences, musical enrichments from piano and synths, and additional guest vocalists and musicians. This allows the music to have more intricate elements than you’d traditionally find in this sort of thing, and they enrich the album immensely. The band’s progressive chops are strong and Song of Salvation is a creative and absorbing listen.

The album is bookended by two massive tracks that each last around the 15-minute mark. Taking up two thirds of the album, these two songs are Dream Unending in all of their unrestrained and expansive glory. (My only complaint is the spoken word near the end of Ecstatic Reign, which like all spoken word is completely mood-destroying. Mercifully it doesn’t last too long).

Between these are two songs that are around 5-6 minutes in length, showcasing the band’s ability to write shorter, more concise pieces, and not just lengthy epics. Secret Grief benefits from dreamy clean singing before the heavier part kicks in, while Unrequited unfolds its instrumental worldbuilding gradually. Both are very effective at what they do. Between these two sit a 3-minute interlude that is relaxed and hazy.

Song of Salvation is evocative and expressive doom that is delivered at a high level by a band that clearly have a talent for the style. I also very much like that the music is allowed to roam further and wider than many ostensibly similar death/doom albums, resulting in a multifaceted, diverse, and rich experience.

Essential listening for any fan of atmospheric doom.

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