Quicksand Dream: Aelin – A Story About Destiny

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Quicksand Dream: Aelin – A Story About Destiny
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Quicksand Dream: Aelin - A Story About Destiny
Epic Heavy Metal, Folk Rock
Planet Metal Records
2010
Release length: 51:12
Myspace
In true Metal fashion, the story behind the Swedish Epic Heavy Metal act Quicksand Doom, and the fate of Aelin: A Story About Destiny, is an epic tale in itself. Quicksand Dream originally formed by a group of friends in 1988 under the name of Epic Irae, concentrating mostly on lyrics instead of performances. The group was approached to contribute to a Split Release, called Metal North in 1993, and with that came the changing of the band name to better suit their music. Shortly after, the band went on hiatus so they could further study and grow musically. In 1996, the group returned and recorded Aelin – A Story About Destiny, and 2000, thirty copies on a CD-R, the album never saw a wide distribution, and the group again went on hiatus. Eventually, the band came to decide they should put the album on-line in a streaming audio format so the world can hear their creation, and it took pretty much no time for this hidden gem to become a massive internet sensation. One year later, the album was picked up by Planet Metal, and given it’s first official and proper pressing twenty two years since the band formed, and fourteen years after it was recorded. Was it really worth this long wait for such a well hidden recording to finally be released to the public?

Yes. It was worth every second of that wait. Aelin: A Story About Destiny is a fantastic piece of Heavy Metal that almost never became a part of it’s history, and had it never been, it honestly would have been a true tragedy. The album takes on a genuine Heavy Metal musical approach comparable to the likes of Manowar or Atlantean Kodex, but more the latter, taking on a softer, slower approach that builds the epic feeling through the actual composition and music being played, and not based on how loud the band can play, or how over the top the music and metal worshipping lyrics can be. Instead, the music feels more like a mixture between contemporary Heavy Metal, as well as early Folk Rock bands and musicians such as Jethro Tull, most notably giving a darker presentation to the song in the vein of that act’s classic “Aqualung”. Of course, the album is a conceptual piece, taking on more of a Heavy Metal approach to something along the lines of the conceptual masterpiece 2112 by Rush. All of this conceived and recorded in a home studio, giving it a classic quality to it similar to the quality of the material the latter two examples would have released on vinyl.

If that’s not enough to tantalize your Metal tastebuds, then there really isn’t anything else to say. Aelin: A Story About Destiny is a conceptual piece that finds the vocalist actually narrating the album, as well as performing all the voices of the characters throughout the release. The only thing that could make it stronger is having an additional vocalist, or perhaps an altering of the vocal style for specific characters to differentiate when someone is speaking or when it is simply narration, but that winds up being the only fault to it. As the story progresses and escalates closer to it’s triumphant conclusion, the music builds along with it until the final tracks, “The Lighthouse Dream” and “Aelin’s Oath”. These two are more like musical sagas that play out through various parts in thse songs. “The Lighthouse Dream” is actually composed of six parts, which transition nicely between each other, typically keeping the flow of the song going without having to come to a complete stop, and is as beautiful and breathtaking as the rest of the album, being a very well composed piece of Metal that retains an epic quality without speed or any other manner to appeal to the audience, and enough consistent changes in the music to progress the song and story to keep it from becoming repetitive.

The track does build as you progress, but mostly in the epic music, and not in speed, though the final part does hammer a little harder then the rest, but acts as a nice closing chapter of the song. This sets up the closing track, “Aelin’s Oath”, perfectly as the conclusion of this chapter, and the tale ends very nicely for this tale. But while these two close up the album perfectly, the rest of the release retains the same qualities these two have, though each track seems to build up, or even slow the pace down a little more for this fantastical tale. It’s hard to sit and point out which track stands out amongst the rest of the album, as they are all fantastic songs that are well composed and performed. The only issue that can be found with any of these recordings, however, lies in the vocals. The performance, again, takes a lot from earlier Folk Rock recordings, and is more of a higher pitched clean singing, but very soft like what one would expect from a minstrel in the day and age that the setting of this story is placed. The problem with that is sometimes, when the vocals pick up and try to be a little more powerful, once in a while they will hit a note or two that simply goes off key with the rest of the recording.

I was not given any information as to the actual story line of the album, just the history of the release. However, if you listen to the album, it appears to be the main character, Aelin, who must choose what his destiny will be, which seems to be between sailing, or become a full fledged sorceror. While the story line may not be the most ingenius, and the lyrics aren’t really all that complex, they play out fluidly and can often capture the character well in his efforts to decide what his fate will become, and which destiny he shall choose. Of course, it works well for the music played on the album, and the overall tone of the recording, it fits the release flawlessly.

01. Prologue – 3:20
02. A Child Was Born – 4:43
03. House of Wisdom – 5:40
04. Caress of the Breeze – 5:25
05. Road Goes Ever On – 6:39
06. The Lighthouse Dream – 16:00
07. Aelin’s Oath – 9:28
Overall Score: 8.5/10


Digital review copy of this release provided by Planet Metal Records.