5. DREAM UNENDING, “Song of Salvation” (20 Buck Spin)

Records that make you sort through visions and memories are some of my favorites, and I reaped that from “Song of Salvation,” the incredible second record from death/doom duo Dream Unending that follows last year’s “Tide Turns Eternal.” The leap from record one to two is astonishing, and that holds even more power considering how great their debut is. The band—guitarist/bassist Derrick Vella (Outer Heaven, Tomb Mold), drummer/vocalist Justin DeTore (Sumerland, Innumerable Forms)—enters into a mystical land of frost and fog, strange transmissions, and the thorns of death and doom that feel like they stretch the lifespan of all heavy metal. They’re also joined by many noted metal luminaries to help realize their visions and create an atmosphere that stands on its own as something that’ll infect your cells and make it impossible to shake its power.

The record has epic numbers as bookends, the first being the opening title track that runs 14:05 and trickles into guitars launching and growls lurching. The murky coldness keeps getting thicker, the condensation on your limbs freezing you as mystical playing makes you see visions, and then the grisly powers open again. Dark, steamy trudging has its way, the howls penetrate your psyche, and the final minutes work to fully disorient you as it dissolves into mystery. “Secret Grief” features Phil Swanson (Hour of 13, ex-Sumerlands, myriad other bands) and Leila Abdul-Rauf on trumpet, and everything moves quietly and cleanly, giving you comfort that feels a little unsettling.

Closer “Ecstatic Reign” is the longest track, running 16:03 and trudging open, leaving muddy bootsteps behind. Growls pummel, but that aggression is encapsulated in dreamy interference, McKenna Rae’s (Phantom Divine, Revelry) gentle calls as The Implorer making the tension calm and your mind able to wander. The playing reignites later, bursts of lava blazing the night sky, a doomy pall covering the land and bringing on the cold. Max Klebanoff (also of Tomb Mold) twists his howls with DeTore’s as the pressure gets heavier, and then Richard Poe enters as The Dreamer, narrating and haunting. “The search continues, the dance lasts forever, can you hear the song that plays?” You will, and it’ll exist in your DNA forever. (Nov. 11)

For more on the band, go here: https://www.instagram.com/thedreamisunending/

To buy the album, go here: https://www.20buckspin.com/dreamunending

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/20buckspin

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