Written by: Scorpi
This album was labelled as “Bluesy Doom” in the Sleeping Village super database of new music. And it tickled the fibers of my curiosity. How would such an album present itself in the light of day?
Dream Quest Ends is the second EP from Smoulder, a quintet from Canada who have been writing music together since 2013.
Straight off the bat I should mention there are only two “new” songs from Smoulder on this EP. The other four tracks feature three demo versions of previously released songs and a cover of Manilla Road’s “Cage of Mirrors” which we will get to in due course. However, to someone such as I, all of the goods on this EP are new.
Dream Quest Ends features significant traditional heavy metal influences, mixed with a distinctively doomy mid- tempo pacing. The guitars demand your attention straight away, bearing their teeth like zombified dogs that haven’t been fed human flesh for a good few days. The vocals of Sarah Ann slice through the music like a hot knife through butter and amplifies the epic nature of the songs. I wasn’t a huge fan of her voice, but the amount of presence she exhibits is pretty impressive. The drums and bass
provide firm and steady foundations to allow the vocals and riffs to inject some rock and roll into the
Smoulder’s cover of “Cage of Mirrors” pays tribute to the original. They haven’t tried to make any
tweaks to the song structure or re-imagine it in any way, it is just a well delivered duplicate that fans
of the song will appreciate.
The three demo versions of previous tracks were slightly better than the two new ones. “Sword
Woman” sees the strongest vocal performance on the EP, Sarah Ann’s sounding pure and angelic.
Whilst “Voyage of the Sun Chaser” sees the bass take a more front-and-centre appearance, especially in the first half of the song. Before the guitars claim their spot in the limelight back with a
quirky solo and some cracking classic metal riffs. “The Queen Is Gone” is the doomier of the three
“old” tracks, the vocals taking on a slightly more sinister tone than previously.
If you’re a fan of Smoulder already, there’s not really too much new here. But it’s better to have
something than nothing, right? For someone who’s a late arrival to this bluesy doomy party, this is a
gentle introduction to the band’s sound. Let’s hope there is more meat on the bones to tuck into on
their next release.
Smoulder - Dream Quest Ends was released March 13th, 2020 from Cruz Del Sur Music
Scorpi also writes reviews and creates content at Abrasive Noise. Now that you're done reading this, you should head over there and check it out!
Providing thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy, and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a groggy-eyed, highfalutin peasantry.