Sea of Dreams
Imagine putting together a band that plays like a mixture of Ingwe Malmsteen, Helloween, and Kansas. That is, imagine a band that plays both classically influenced metal, power metal, and progressive rock with a hint of jazz. Add epic length songs that average around 8 minutes and include a variety of melodies. Some of those melodies come from classical masters, some come from the Far East, others are unique. You might even add that the band has a flair for improvisation, like a late night television band. When you put all these diverse elements together you have Norway’s Sea of Dreams. The end result is a very complex body of work that demonstrates a band that must be very talented, because few bands could play such a combination of styles and shift back and forth so smoothly. Not since Tourniquet’s "Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance" have I heard such a musically technical and diverse band. In short, Sea of Dreams sound a lot like a classic metal band from Sweden with a progressive undercurrent.
The band is made up of Trond Are, guitarist extraordinaire. His playing is very much in line with the Malmsteen comparison. He is quite the virtuoso. John Martin Haar plays bass and also fretless bass. The fretless bass is used in the jazzy sections and shows that he is equal to the challenge. Svein Magne Kleven adds a classic touch on keyboards on the first album, Jorgan Manke on the second. Svein Hatald Kleppe is the drummer that holds all the diverse musical pieces together. Without him it is doubtful that Sea of Dreams could pull off all the musical changes in their songs. Finally, Jim foss is the singer. His voice is an extremely high pitched soprano. At times on the first CD his voice wears a little thin, but this problem is corrected on "Land of Flames".
Dawn of Time (12 tracks. 74:54) 1996.
Songs: Enter the Sea of Dreams, First Step, Pain, Dimensions of Time, Point of No Return, Preach of Fire, Under the Rainbow, Legends, Wait for the Day, Black Roses, Sheila, Dawn of Time.
The band plays some very intriguing and often passionate music on this debut. It is obvious that some elements of the band are not quite as developed here as on the triumphant "Land of Flames" CD, but one can hear the making of a great band on "Dawn of Time" nonetheless. The highlight of this album are the instrumental sections, but some really great songs are "Sheila", "Pain", and "Under the Rainbow".
Land of Flames (8 tracks. 67:14) 1998.
Eagle (part one: Eye), Temple of Dreams, Vanishing Son, Last Trooper, Illusions (5 parts), Morning Rain, Strong Winds, Land of Flames.
All the talent hinted to on "Dawn of Time" has come to fruition on this CD. Here Sea of Dreams sound like a very confident band. "Temple of Dreams" happens to be one of the best songs ever. If it doesn’t impress you, then you are probably an old fart. It is an amazing combination of Eastern melody mixed with opera, classic metal, and some sort of gypsy sounding folk like melody (pardon me for not knowing a more accurate description). In short, I think this song is great. This song is followed by "Vanishing Son" which has an awesome jazzy improv section in the middle. Once again, awesome. But then again, the songs on "Land of Flames" are more complex and diverse than "Dawn of Time" and as a whole the entire album is very strong.
Sea of Dreams
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