Dream Into Dust The Lathe of Heaven
Grade
A
 
Also Try
Lull
Marilyn Manson
Neurosis

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 being presented.

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 games.

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.

- - Kinderfeld

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