The new album from UK old-school metallers Dream Tröll drops on July 2, and my suggestion is to get it immediately. Realm of the Tormentor is pure traditional metal revelry. Six songs is flirting with EP territory, but each song is at least a juicy five minutes. Honestly, I’d take six excellent, well-crafted songs over six and a few fillers. Each band member has plenty of room in each song to shine. From start to finish, Realm of the Tormentor is a catchy, riff-heavy, shredding feast.
According to their Instagram description, Dream Tröll makes “the OLD sound NEW again.” It’s a fitting description. If you loaded this cassette in your car around 1989 and cranked it, it wouldn’t sound out of place. But Realm of the Tormentor is not rehashing the sounds of the past. Instead, the band uses their troll magic to create a classic sounding record that doesn’t sound at all dated. It’s an exceptional mix of glam, arena rock, prog, and thrash elements. The guitars are outstanding, the vocals are strong and memorable, and the rhythm section is just sick.
The Realm is Ruled by the Bass
My only issue with Dream Tröll is the lack of readily available information on who’s in the band. I’d love to call out the bass player by name but haven’t been able to quickly find his name. If Dream Tröll can send me info, I’ll update the article. I have zero issues with Dream Tröll 😄. The bass playing by Matt Baldwinson is fantastic on this album but dominated on a couple of different tracks.
Thumping bass brings the funk to “Winner Takes Nothing“, coupled with prodigious riffs and big vocals, and Dream Tröll delivers. The chorus will have you reaching for the volume if you’re not already on 10. Throw this on the soundtrack to a Schwarzenegger movie, even with the lad’s homemade video, and at another time “Winner Takes Nothing” would’ve been all over the radio.
Closing the album, “As Death Rains From The Sky” kicks off with epic gang vocals. It embodies all of the best parts of the album with a nifty bass solo, killer guitar work, moody synths, and a memorable chorus. It’s a seven-minute epic done to near perfection with its slow but consistent build.
Different Approaches, Same Result
Whether Dream Tröll takes a more melodic and catchy approach with “Winner Takes Nothing“, “She Got The Devil Inside” and “The Tormentor“, or they embrace a more prog approach in “Here Comes Chaos” and “As Death Rains From The Sky“, they’re equally successful.
Already one of my favourite songs of 2021 “The Tormentor” is a master class in melding hair metal with catchy traditional metal. The opening riff grabs you immediately and the rhythm section maintains a furious pace. The chorus is sticky and will be in your head a long time. Just when you think it’s over, Dream Tröll treats you to even more. Check out their Facebook page to figure out what 80’s cartoon inspired this gem.
“Here Comes Chaos” the vocals are a bit less polished and the song doesn’t have the “radio single” feel of the first three tracks. Dream Tröll veers into more proggy territory here, but there is nothing wrong with that. While the riffs hold the song together, you can definitely feel the band members stretching on this track.
I just discovered Dream Tröll in the last few months after watching the epic “Chrome Skull Viper” video, but I’m already a huge fan. Realm of the Tormentor is guaranteed to be in my top ten this year. It’s fantastic from the first song to the last. There is no filler here. The keyboards rule “Watch It Burn“, inspired equally by John Carpenter and Rob Zombie. Another Sunset Stripper, “She Got The Devil Inside” shares the same ingredients as their best songs: killer bass, soaring vocals, and buckets of horns 🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘🤘
When dreaming up the Realm of the Tormentor, the goal was clearly to make an epic ode to all the best 80s genres. With that goal in mind, Dream Tröll absolutely nails it. These guys know traditional metal, arena rock, thrash, and prog, and it shows.
Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Dave Wilks
Check out the videos: