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Dreichmere - The Fruit of Barren Fields Award winner

The Fruit of Barren Fields
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 14 May 2020, 5:19 AM

DREICHMERE is a one-man Metal band that combines Black, Death, and Doom Metal into one cohesive force.  It was originally formed under the name DRAUGR, who released one album. “The Fruit Of Barren Fields,” is the second album under their new name.  The man behind it all is Dustin Matthews, a Grand Rapids native.

The songs are on the longer side without a true structure to contain all the elements so it very much also a progressive album.  In my research of the band, I read that more than a few people have compared them to OPETH.  While I can certainty understand why someone would make that comparison, the two bands don’t sound the same at all.  Both bands may share similarities with their prog death metal displayed within long form songs but “The Fruit Of Barren Fields,” more atmospheric and melancholic than anything OPETH ever put out.

The drums are programmed—something that I am coming across more and more.  The programs used for this have obviously come a long way but they sound very real and organic on this album, perhaps the best programmed drums I’ve heard this year.  It isn’t so much that they sound human (they do) but more so how well they fit into the compositions.  The songs are very well put together and I found myself thinking the songs were not as long as they were advertised—and that is a good thing as it shows this album is one that keeps you on your toes and never gives you a second to be bored.  All the elements in play across the record just work so well that I’m not sure how you could get bored, assuming this is your style.

Vocally, Dustin’s vocals are a deep but clear cut growl that is very intelligible.   The guitars have a lot to do on this record, a full scope of power.   Slower to mid paced style riffs with impeccable tone are often used within the songs.  Dustin isn’t afraid to let the guitar take a walk though, with many wonderful guitar solos, melodies and harmonies littering the musical landscape to, often times, move the song forward or change the pace.  Clean guitar finds a reason to be presented as well and these more melodic/folk tinged parts work well with the heavier moments, in a sort of nature melding with technology style musical project.

The opening track, “Pfingstlich,” begins with light ambient tones mixed with the chirping of birds. Lead guitar appears and the background and makes it wait to the front, bringing along a sorrowful melody that has a lurking feel of danger behind it.  The drums and bass flow in behind it and kick the song into gear as the guitar find a well-balanced riff.  Throughout its journey, “Pfingstlich,” ebbs and flows between doom inspired melodies and guitar riffs that are progressive in sound.

As Golden Dust,” is a very interesting track, featuring two different types of sounds.  However, the presentation comes off as “two sides of the same coin,” rather than sounding like two different songs stuck together—it just flows so well.  The song’s first half is beautiful acoustic music and lead guitar that speak volumes right alongside the wonderful vocals of special guest Sara Borgstrom.  The latter half of the song consists of crushing death growls, riffs and melodies intertwined with a standout bass performance.

The last two tracks are long epics that, even if the rest of the album wasn’t as good as it is, make the listen worth it.  “The Winterlong,” is nearly fifteen minutes in length with sections that are face melting and others that are deep and introspective.  After coming out off a clean, melodic, folk tinged passage around 4:15, growls and shrieks do their damage on top of less abrasive music as it too fades away to some groove filled riffs and extremely fast double bass.  The song then takes another route, something that wouldn’t sound of place on an AGALLOCH album.  It is a very expansive moment and one of both hindsight and forward-thinking elements.  The song once again returns to more distorted fields before ending on another clean, acoustic note that slides back into aggressive riffs and a ending guitar solo.  The ebb and flow of this track, the dance between the light and dark elements of the band’s sound is truly captivating.

The final track, “The Wild Hunt (Earth as a Casket) is a twenty-one-minute tour de force that encompasses the full breadth of the album’s overall sound while still sounding very much like its own entity.  Much of the song is much more aggressive than the previous tracks, the longer structure no doubt giving Dustin plenty of time and opportunities to flex his metal muscle.  There is a brief respite to the chaos at the 6:05 mark that serves as a moment of rest and a reason for the madness to return.  The lead guitar takes on a life of its own, leading the song through its different segments flawlessly.

DREICHMERE’s “The Fruit Of Barren Fields” is an impressive album that expertly balances heavy and light tones to create music that is as exciting as it is engrossing.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Pfingstlich
2. Wurmian Shroud
3. As Golden Dust
4. Lamentations
5. Dolour
6. The Winterlong
7. The Wild Hunt (Earth As A Casket)
Dustin Matthews - All Instruments, Drum Programming, Vocals
Record Label: Necrotic Records


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