Dream. The Chinese Democracy of hardcore records. Seriously, I’ve been hearing about this record for a year and half. Posters, facebook posts, demo tracks, live teasers, previous release date announcements. You name it; they used it as a promotional tool. Now, without any further ado, the follow-up to the If I Could Be Anyone But Me EP has finally arrived and Dream is here. Is it worth the hype? Is it a sophomore slump? Read below to find out what my weightless opinion is:

Musically the band continues to grow. While NLFTW was pretty simple in its approach, it was cohesive and it worked. It was written to induce rage amongst the listeners, not wow them with eccentric song writing. However, in the EP, the band did decide to play around with some more metallic elements and improved their song writing ability by leaps and bounds. While the mosh parts were prevalent, it wasn’t a rush to get there. The in between parts played around with some Slayer and Sabbath influences to added to their arsenal. While it was still Lifeless, it was almost a completely new band in terms of writing. Now that the full length is here, the growth continued. I thought NLFTW was a band coming into its own but I had no idea. Lifeless really took their time with this one to create what they felt was their masterpiece. I’m aware that they recorded a full length worth of demos in preparation of going all in on Dream and I think it served them well. I got to hear some of the raw records, sans vocals, and they played around with some influences that didn’t really work for them and appears they agreed because some of the “Behemoth” parts that they were shooting for are gone with the exception of the ending of the track How Hatred Starts and in its place they returned to something a little more familiar to them. More of the metallic sounds from the EP make their presence known as well as a lot of melody and even some of Kyle’s love for nu-metal makes its presence known, mostly notably in the last few tracks, but its subtle and they really make it work. Lifeless even dug deep and went back to some of the ideas that made NLFTW such the fan favorite and stressed some focus again on what the crowd wants, what Lifeless does best, and that’s include some massively heavy breakdowns. There is still a reduced amount of urgency to get them but at times, like the end of The Truth Of Life And Death, they are injected simply to cause a riot at their shows. There is no harm in that and I can’t wait to watch people smash each other to pieces live after this album drops.

Not only in the music is there growth but the lyrics and vocals show a ton of improvement as well. If you search out my review for the first full length you’ll discover that I’ve been able to see Jeremy in his earliest stages as a vocalist. Originally joining a band mostly because he was the only person that knew all their lyrics and he was one of their main road dogs, he started off somewhat terrible but as time progressed he started to get comfortable in his role and found the voice that worked for him. As his comfort grew, he settled in and his voice continued to get stronger and stronger. I really thought he plateaued with the EP and was going to ride out his life as a vocalist with that sound until his vocal chords decided to give up and it started to fade. For Dream, he has grown so comfortable in his role that he has been finally able to add some emotion behind his voice. He still sounds like Jeremy but you can just hear some raw feelings in his delivery especially during a song like Sinking, which is probably the most deeply personal lyrics he’s written. As a lyricist he’s expanded his horizons as well. In the beginning it was all self-hate and hatred for the world in the most general sense was the go to theme, but with the EP and this new full length, the hostility becomes more focused and the topics dive a lot deeper than the surface. Topics range from ladder climbers, to how man is destroying the world without remorse, to watching a loved one throw their life away over heroin, which is a topic that has recently hit home with me.

Although I feel Lifeless wrote, what they feel, is their perfect album (and really as long as they feel that way, nothing else matters) but I predict that this album may be met with a bit of backlash due to their decision to include a ton of singing parts. Now, it’s not clean singing that you’d find on something like a Killswitch Engage record but I think this is going to garner some of the same debate that 100 Demons found themselves receiving when they released their self-titled full length. It seems that some people loved it and some people refuse to ever pick that album up again. Much like 100 Demons, it gives Lifeless a new dynamic and can actually open them up to a new audience entirely because the mainstream seems to gravitate towards it but I don’t think purists are going to give it the same pass. However, as they say, with great risk comes great reward and I’m interested to see how the loyalists take to the curveball the band throws at them this time.

This album is well over a year in the making and there is good reason for it. Lifeless finally wrote the album they were destined to. It has elements of both previous works as well as outside styling’s pulled directly from the band members personal listen preferences. It’s intimate in its lyrics and passionate in their delivery. Regardless of whatever anyone else, including myself, says about this record, Lifeless should be absolutely proud of what they accomplished with this record. Dream is here, are you ready?