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Review: Smoulder - Dream Quest Ends
Dream Quest Ends

Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Year released: 2020
Duration: 37:00
Tracks: 6
Genre: Heavy/Doom

Rating: 3/5

Review online: March 12, 2020
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
Dream Quest Ends

Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (4 Votes)

I like EPs and always have. They often contain new songs, songs not on regular releases, covers, etc. not to mention they represented something "new" from favorite bands in between albums. Smoulder is a new epic metal band whose debut, Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring, was released in 2019 and I liked it quite a bit so any new music from them is certainly welcome. Throw in a Manilla Road cover and I'm all in.

Dream Quest Ends contains two new songs ("Dream Quest Ends" and "Warrior Witch of Hel"), demo versions of all three songs from their Sword Woman demo, two of which were also on the debut album and a cover of my favorite Manilla Road track "Cage of Mirrors". The new songs are typical Smoulder; heavy, fuzzy guitars, big riffs and the eclectic bellows of singer Sarah Ann Kitteringham. They are decent cuts though nothing that makes you wonder why they weren't on the debut or drool at the thought of the band's next album. They could easily have been left over from the debut recording sessions and were not considered good enough for the album at the time, perhaps getting a bit of reworking prior to appearing here. The demo versions of the earlier songs are fine though not significantly different from what you heard on Sword Woman or Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring. The real reason to own this EP, for me, is the cover of "Cage of Mirrors", one of Manilla Road's signature songs. Smoulder gives it a solid effort, changing up the vibe a little with a fatter, more intimate sound, but generally keeping it a faithful rendition. Unfortunately, Sarah Ann can't hold a candle to Mark Shelton with the vocals for this one. She's got the right combination of hubris and resigned sadness, but struggles with the vocal lines in several spots which robs the song of its flow.

I appreciate Smoulder putting out new product for the fans but there's not much on Dream Quest Ends that I feel I can recommend between a couple of new but unexciting songs, three demo versions that don't sound a lot different from the finished songs and a cover that didn't quite work. Buy away completists, the rest of us can safely wait for the next full album from this promising band.

Other related information on the site
Review: Times of Obscene Evil and Wild Daring (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Violent Creed of Vengeance (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Violent Creed of Vengeance (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
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