Jacobs Dream's debut of around one year ago was a most impressive one. I liked it at start, in fact, but it's also grown on me. It's one of those albums that you will simply keep playing in the future, whereas too many albums these days have a more limited life time. Good thing there's Ebay, right?

The time has arrived for Jacobs Dream to consolidate their position with the release of the follow-up, "Theater of War". Right away you'll notice the heavier production, apparently partly a result of new drummer Billy Queen, perhaps in combination with new second guitar player Derek Eddlebute. The heaviness has happened at the expense of some of the previous melodic-ness. Not necessarily bad, but definitely different.

Musically, Jacobs Dream pretty much still has the same on offer: Good tunes with haunting vocals, still reminiscent of old Queensryche. It's heavier, sure, but generally not worse. One thing that does bother me is the singing style on a few tracks. I can only conclude that, on "Theater of War" and "Traces of Grace", vocalist David Taylor sings off key on the high bits. I am pretty much amazed how they could let this end up on the final mix. A vocalist who screams his nuts off, who grunts, or who screeches, is easier on the ears than someone who goes off key. Not good.

"Theater of War" has got plenty of excellent tracks, in fact there's only the ballad "Sarah Williams" that I personally don't get off on (which is then capably compensated by the instrumental "De Machina Est Deo"). But somehow I fear this new album may not make the transition to my own 'evergreen collection'.



Written May 2001


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