Dreadnought’s progressive ire rages with atmosphere, doom on spellbinding, ashen ‘Emergence’

Photo by Alvino Salcedo

It should be no secret to anyone who has visited this site with any regularity that we love heavy bands that take things in a completely different direction than everyone else. Fresh ideas and new perspectives are what keeps the blood in the machine vibrant, and going against the script should be encouraged as long as the artists have the capability to pull of their vision.

I instantly became a fan of Colorado-based progressive metal machine Dreadnought when I heard “Bridging Realms” a little after it came out in 2015, and it instantly drew me into its center. Progressive metal is a messy, often misused and misunderstand term that makes it sound like a bunch of people getting together to noodle and disappear up their backsides. Dreadnought never have been that way. Their music—as indebted to Kansas and Yes and anything metallic—have done an amazing job bridging the gap between atmospheric and surreal with savagery. That continues on their great fourth record “Emergence,” their first for Profound Lore and another unfurling journey into fiery destruction of the earth’s life cycle. This is the final movement of their four records focusing on each element, and the fire record envisions charring what’s here only to create a path for rebirth. The band—Kelly Schilling (guitars, flute, vocals), Kevin Handlon (bass), Lauren Vieira (keys, vocals), Jordan Clancy (drums, sax)—uses these five cuts to tell their story but also to envelop you in a metallic world maybe you didn’t think possible.

“Besieged” starts the record with charges and an deluge of sound as breezy singing works its way in, and elegant keys drip like rain. The track then calmly floats, with tension bubbling to the surface, shifty riffs, and Schilling’s shrieks tearing a hole in the night. Clean calls then soar while keys splatter, guitars subside, and everything disappears into calm. “Still” is a quicker cut with spacey essence, horns echoing, and a warm, jazzy stream trickling as the result of a light storm. Softer singing and airy sounds then push into “Pestilent” that has aggressive guitars and strong singing making an early dent. Shrieks blow though while proggy keys emerge, and flutes bring a calming texture that soothes before the doom tar pours briefly. Harmonized singing and lush melody become front and center until heavy growls return, keys add more drama, and sweeping singing mix with steely guitars to bring a rusty edge. The track then feels like Western dusk, with the skies mixing orange into purple, as the band brings the song to a destructive, vicious ending.

“Tempered” runs a healthy 10:31 as melodies break through the surface, a sharp progressive angle is achieved, and propulsive singing adds heart and even more emotion before organs start to swell. Growls then land some unexpected blows, blasts send shrapnel, and the leads open up and gallop over the land. The bass trudges, while Schilling’s horrifying shrieks make flesh crawl, and synth zaps like beams from another world before things end in a mystical fog. “The Waking Realm” closes the album by working itself in quietly, unassumingly as the ambiance is established, and sax blows in like a star falling through the sky. There’s a psychedelic edge that stares you down at first, and as we move ahead in this 13:52-long epic, the track bursts with fire, driving forcefully, with the guitars cutting pathways. The singing entrances, melting into the mixing colors, before the storm catches again and threatens safety. Shrieks makes your teeth chatter while the keys glimmer, and the track combusts and hints at the promised end. Schilling’s growls blast trough skin and bone, doomy exhaust leaves a curtain of blackness, and the track slowly fades, with rebirth promised on the other side.

Dreadnought’s adventurous, mind-teasing compositions make “Emergence” anything but an average metal release on the weekly schedule. This is one that stands out, as all of their records do, because they’ve taken heavy music as an idea and fearlessly pushed it into other worlds. Bands such as Dreadnought are going to be the ones remembered a decade from now in helping inform where heavy metal was able to travel, and “Emergence” is likely to be one of those touchstone albums.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/dreadnoughtband/

To buy the album, go here: https://profoundlorerecords.merchtable.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.profoundlorerecords.com/