(Blood & Ink)
I decided to go outside my comfort zone here and give a listen to North Carolina’s Dwell. The opening track, “Scars of Grief,” catches you right away with the energy of the band. Mixed by guitarist Jeremy White, it’s very polished. He knows the music and the emphasis he wanted and it shows great effort in production. Citing bands like Converge, Norma Jean and even Coldplay as well as influences such as Lord of the Rings and author C.S. Lewis – whose ideas are seen many times in the concepts of the album dealing with the human condition: Life, death, loss and doubt.
However after that my excitement diminished some, as the next couple of songs went by so quickly that I had to look at the track number to see that I was actually not still on the first song. When we get to the title track “Innate” after a build up it seemed like they just changed tempo and continued with the same song, which was a shame, because the bands unique time signatures and tempos are catchy and exciting. However this is one of the best ones on the album.
The length of the songs, perhaps play into this as well. None of the songs are over 3 minutes in length, and they pack in the energy into each song. That is, until we reach the song “Open Vein” where it just becomes a jumbled mess and seems like it was a better idea on paper. A ballad of sorts where the vocals are just not right for the piece – it would have worked better as an instrumental to show their chaotic changes. All in all, they sonically hit the mark but left me, as a listener, wanting more. But more in the sense of wanting Prime Rib for dinner and having a dollar menu meal and saying it was no different.
They are quoted as saying that they want to challenge people in terms of their thought processes and the view towards the material world and beyond. While they have some great concepts and the songs are well written, by the time I reached the other song I really enjoyed on the album, “Like the Leech on Our Skin,” I felt like the rest of the album was just more of the same ‘ol same ‘ol. By the closing track, “When Aid Has Become Poison,” it was really an Ep with filler.
The energy of Dwell is certainly not in question, and it could be a case of “I bet they are great live”. If you want something full of energy, with great concepts, but not a lot of substance. Dwell is certainly a band to check out. It worth the listen once but not much more, and I hope as they mature as a band they release something more substantial.
– Raven “Dave” Gaudet