The Lathe of Heaven, as an album, is a Frankstein's
monster in execution, masterfully pieced from parts of ambient
soundscapes, raw belligerent industrial, acoustic folk and
dressed with a layers of symphonic strings and electronic
samples that forge an entity so avant garde that its scope
and concept are impressive in delivery. One might think that
these separate parts may not synch up so well as they appear
quite disjointed, but the way the music and album is orchestrated
leaves no loose ends or any doubt as to the musical identity
The opening track, A Dream of Joy In A Sleep of Sorrow,
may lead to some confusion to those first experiencing the
album - it's a gritty and dark soundscape that draws you into
what can only be described as an alternate reality. Like Lull,
or similar ambient projects by Mick Harris, this soundscape
is best enjoyed by listeners who have a healthy, and even
artistic, imagination. From there, the album moves into Disconnected,
a more traditional song, if you can call any of these tracks
traditional in any sense. Disconnected finds a smooth
balance between string arrangements and gritty techno-industrial.
How the Roses Burned is a melancholy acoustic track
that can be best be described as industrial folk. Following
this up is White Autumn, an eerie piece that opens
passively but moves into a steady beat augmented by ambiance
and haunting flute-work. Sleep in Dead Time is a sharp,
moody acoustic piece, that begins casual but evolves into
a thunderous industrial mish-mosh that stabs moments of string
arrangements and pounding bass to keep what could have been
a standard ballad fresh. To follow up this track is Black
Ice - a song that can only be described as a depressing
event with grey soundwaves lapping at you like the night tide.
Vocals flow like a stream of consciousness, peppered by a
smattering of sampled sounds, which all manages to drive home
a desperate tone.
For me, No World Outside is possible the epic pinnacle
of this album. It's dramatic and demands your attention. Every
component of the song builds upon each other to the epic string
arrangement near the end of the track. The powerful creation
and delivery are done with such a conviction that I just want
to share it with everyone who'll listen. The title track is
another otherworldly ambient soundscape that reminds me of
the soundtracks from the Silent Hill series (most notably
Silent Hill 2 and Silent
Hill 3). In fact, the fusion of folk, industrial and ambient
is eerily reminiscent to the soundtracks created for those
Following the previous two tracks, the acoustic piece Distant
Horizon comes across quite somber and actually does a
wonderful job at keeping a sense of balance - not allowing
the album to become too dark for its own good. The final track,
Internal Return, ends the album on a bit of a downturn
as it comes across as the most straightforward track of the
album and even a little plain compared to the event of the
previous ten tracks.
Considering that Dream Into Dust is but a three-piece,
they bring a lot of layers and sharp performances to the production.
When it comes to vocal presence, Derek Rush delivers an enigmatic
performance that isn't heavy-handed in style, but fits the
personality of the act. I liken his vocals to something similar
to Hum - soft yet still emotional.
For those who want me to quickly drop names as to what Dream
Into Dust can be linked to - forget it. Yes, there are
seconds here and there where I can hear Marilyn Manson,
Stabbing Westward, Lull, Scorn and even
Neurosis to name a few. But, to really grasp what this
album is, you have to listen and experience it for yourself.
If more acts like this managed to get mainstream airplay,
I'd have a reason to turn on my radio.