(Cruz Del Sur Music)
Since Bathory and Candlemass in the ‘80s, Sweden has long been associated with metal of the epic variety, a legacy which carries on today in bands such as Grand Magus and Sons Of Crom.
While vocalist Goran Jacobson and string warrior Patrick Backlund began what would become Quicksand Dream as far back as 1988 under the moniker Epic Irae, Beheading Tyrants arrives six years after their debut. Thankfully, time seems to have done nothing but better an already solid band, returning us to the rough ‘n’ ready grandeur of Brocas Helm / Slough Feg-styled metal, “Daughters Of Eve” setting a tone of melodicism without sacrificing heaviness. There’s a bit of doomy Witchcraft here too, ala Firewood, to be found in “Cloud Of Screams”, the production of this tune and the album as a whole screaming “retro”, though the bass may be a little up front in the mix for some. Lyrically, Quicksand Dream is all about the necromancers, things gleaming, flames flickering, bloodstains in victory and – admirably enough, in the aforementioned “Daughters Of Eve” – female empowerment. While some may not take quickly to Jacobson’s mid-range delivery, others will. For me, it’d be nice to see him stretch himself to a higher note from time to time (the chorus of “Girl From The Island”), he’s clearly within his comfort zone. It’s not that I feel he “can’t” hit those notes if need be. I just don’t feel he’s seen the need to try, and it potentially deprives the music of a dynamic it may not otherwise be heard as having. All in all, most any album has changes that could’ve been made, and this small tweak is no reason to deny this one a chance.
Ending with the melancholic dirge of “To Kill Beneath The Sun”, Quicksand Dream wisely combines the best elements of what has come before, closing out Beheading Tyrants on a high note, and delivering another album for a niche community that should hopefully grow larger.