FB1964 (feat. Johnny Gioeli, Ronnie Romero) – Dreams & Nightmares (2021)
It only takes a little look at the guest list for the third FB1964 album, ”Dreams & Nightmares”, to discover that founder / guitarist Frank Badenhop knows his way around the metal scene. After all, anyone who can convince Johnny Gioeli, Ronnie Romero, Becky Gaber, Chris Boltendahl, Henning Basse, Liv Jagrell, Anneke Van Giersbergen, Bobby (Blitz) Ellsworth, David DeFeis, and Tim (Ripper) Owens to step up to the mic for a song or two has music knowledge and a contact list to envy.
And that’s only the singers, for rest assured that listing all of the other ‘names’ involved results almost endless.
Suffice to say then that with guys like Jeff Loomis (Nevermore, Arch Enemy, Sanctuary), Yiannis Papadopoulos (Scott Stapp’s band) and many more lesser known but equally gifted musicians contributing (Michael Wolpers from Running Wild being part of the ‘house band’ throughout, for example), the standard of musicianship is incredibly high and the style of each song crafted to suit – although in all honesty, that department is more about the singers’ approaches than that of anyone else.
Hence it’s no surprise that this conceptual piece is planted firmly in the European melodic metal style, with, for example, opener “Mile To Mile” more than capable of exploiting an early Helloween sound as ‘Ripper’ Owens grabs this album by the neck and gives it a rough shake. “Chaos”, on the other hand, where it’s Overkill’s Ellsworth leading the charge behind the mic, grinds and gargles like prime-time Accept.
An aspect that’s also worth mentioning here is the even spread of male and female talent and unlike most albums of this style, that’s not just in the vocal department. The aforementioned “Chaos” allowing Sophie Lloyd and Julia Kosterova to let fly on the fretboard, while Giulia Marta Vallar scythes her way through the solo on “Army Of Darkness”, where Becky Gaber (Exotoxis) adds an angular vocal melody to this unsettling journey.
Not all is metal tough. We find a great mid-paced ballad on ‘7 Deadly Dreams’ where Gioeli show his credentials over a very melodious tune with strong guitar work too.
Romero does a great job on ‘Guilty Conscience’ a metal tune yet very melodious with a classic ’80s atmosphere, where some guitar parts sound like organs. Very good track.
The album’s title cut is an instrumental featuring the guitar solo work of Dethy Borchardt adds pomp and circumstance, and “Mechanics”, which flits between mid-paced riffology and synthed-up layers of Lea Dieckman’s is one of the most elaborated songs here. The OTT violin outbursts from Ally Storch can feel a little at odds with the gritty guitar growls of “Fever”, but works.
For any follower of the Euro-metal scene the guest list alone should be enough to pique the interest on ”Dreams & Nightmares”. That the majority of this album comes close to living up to those expectations should also keep you thoroughly engaged.
01 Mile To Mile: Tim “Ripper” Owens
02 Blood-Red Sky: Anneke van Giersbergen
03 Chaos: Bobby Blitz
04 Falling Deep: Henning Bassa
05 Dearms And Nightmares: instrumental
06 Fever: Liv Jagrell
07 Seven Deadly Dreams: Johnny Gioeli
08 Guilty Conscience: Ronnie Romero
09 Army Of Darkness: Becky Gaber
10 Mechanics: Lea Diekmann
11 Evil Awaits: David DeFeis
12 Coming Home: Chris Boltendahl