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Oberon – Dream Awakening

Dream Awakening
by Andrew Sifari at 10 November 2014, 8:15 PM

After a 12 year hiatus, Norwegian band OBERON returns with “Dream Awakening,” their first album since 2002’s “Future Whirl.” “Dream Awakening” is an interesting album, to say the least, as it covers a lot of ground musically and emotionally, from passages of airy, yet powerful Prog-Rock to the dreamlike sequences of more acoustic guitar-based tunes like “Dark World,” the title track, and “Empty And Marvelous.”  When the songs are at their best, listeners can feel themselves getting lost within the intricate melodies and powerful soundscapes, filled with feeling and a depth of expression from Bard Oberon’s descriptive lyrics.

The thing is, my most visible complaint with “Dream Awakening” stems from Bard’s choice of diction, or more accurately, its flow within the song. Taken at base value, the majority of songwriters can only dream of crafting lines as articulate and vivid as ones like “Who can penetrate the heart with songs of wisdom, who can liberate the soul, with the light of truth. Boundless is the one.” In most of the songs, it’s not too much of a problem, but there are times where one feels like there is something to be said about doing more with less.  “Escape” is an example of a song with great clarity of expression in its lyrics as well as a powerful musical experience, with a sound reminiscent of OPETH in spots, and it works primarily because it doesn’t feel like OBERON is actively trying to sound too profound, and lets the music dictate the flow of the lyrics. The aforementioned “Empty And Marvelous” is one of the more lyric-driven songs, and the vocal delivery gives it a continuous feeling, never really reaching an apex emotionally but rather steadily, almost hypnotically progressing, as if floating through the air or on a quiet stream. Others, however, like “I Can Touch The Sun With My Heart” and “Dark World,” come off as slightly pretentious, and even overly poetic at times, in a way that distracts from the music itself.

Of course, this is more an exception rather than the rule, as the majority of the songs on “Dream Awakening” manage to find a good balance, with songs like “Flight Of Aeons,” “Machines That Dream,” “Phoenix” and “Secret Flyer” capable of enthralling the listener with their thoughtful content and mesmerizing atmospheres. It’s an album that may only appeal to a specific sort of listener, but “Dream Awakening” is still a quality album worth checking out.

3 Star Rating

1. Empty And Marvelous
2. Escape
3. In Dreams We Never Die
4. Dark World
5. Flight Of Aeons
6. Dream Awakening
7. I Can Touch The Sun With My Heart
8. Phoenix
9. Secret Flyer
10. Machines That Dream
11. Age Of The Moon
Bard Oberon – All instruments, vocals
Record Label: Prophecy Productions


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Edited 09 August 2020

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