Album Review: Dream Ocean – The Missing Stone

Dream Ocean popped into our field of view a couple of weeks ago when they released a cover of “The Phantom of the Opera” featuring Sabaton’s Tommy Johansson. That song isn’t on the album, but definitely gives a good feel for the band’s output and style. The grand, operatic overtones of that one song were very much in keeping with Dream Ocean’s own material. Two-minute opener “Nightmare” is purely instrumental and very much plays the part of an overture, almost making me want to sit back in my velvet-covered seat with a good view of the stage as the curtain is lifted.

As with the bonus cover song, Dream Ocean are a multi-vocalled act even when they don’t have a guest popping by. They’re fronted by Basak Ylva whose strong, emotional voice (yes, a trained opera singer like so many in the melodic metal scene) is the lead. Popping up with backing “growls” now and again is bassist Sebastian Heuckmann, though this is more of an occasional thing that a co-singer position. It works when needed, with the focus rightly being on the more melodic tones for the majority of the time.

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It is fair to say that Ylva is the focal point, with the rest of the band giving her impressive vocals the perfect backing. Listen to the stylistic change around 3:30 through “Pendulum of Time” for a sense of how they complement each other. Her voice goes from uplifting to more cautious, the music follows perfectly… and then the musicians (and Heuckmann) get a chance to come to the fore as she rests.

There are a lot of keys / synths and backing vocals throughout the album which go uncredited – which is a shame as, typically of this genre, they add massively to the impressive atmosphere, an important part of any symphonic metal release. The whole package is impressive without being overblown. Dream Ocean have created an album that impresses but doesn’t lay it on too thick. The hair-raising scales of “The Great Silence” were probably the highlight of my few review listens, but there’s a hell of a lot more here to enjoy. The epic title track deserves a film-length video, for instance!

Definitely one for the symphonic metal crowd to check out.

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Header image by Oliver Rindelaub

Check out all the bands we review in 2021 on our Spotify and YouTube playlists!

The Missing Stone is out now

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