Reflection of Glory is a one man project featuring the talents of Barry Dreier. What is on tap here is melodic symphonic metal which by his own admission is a cross of Kamelot and Theocracy. The melody and power are on full display throughout this album.
The quality of this project on the production end is quite impressive. By my own admission I was really surprised at the crunch of his guitar tones, sharp, driving and upfront in the mix. Barry is an accomplished bass player, guitar player, song writer and arranger. His lavish epic keyboard arrangements accentuate the symphonic elements throughout this release.
Escape the Dream is the title of this 2021 release, his second symphonic metal album. It’s a bit of concept piece dealing with how we as humans perceive dreams and reality. Perhaps the liner notes will explain it better
“We know that our dreams are but a partial reflection of reality – illusions pieced together from fragments of what is real. Every glimpse, every shard of a vision is built upon the bedrock of actuality. Within the dream, the fantasy is convincing. Without, insubstantial.
The time has come to move from the illusory to the real,
from the shadow to the substance, from the natural to the supernatural.
It is time to escape the dream.
Humanity languishes in this “dream” world, believing there is nothing beyond the material or physical. Yet the true spiritual reality lies beyond what we see. God Himself breaks through our dreams, dreams which lead us only to heartbreak and disappointment, while He brings us into reality.
The music of “Escape the Dream” strives to capture both the human experience and the truth of God in a series of imaginative visions. Journey through this series of visions: pictures of the struggle of man, the condition of the heart, and the nature of reality. Then, “Escape the Dream” and be confronted by the truth of reality.
As the dream is a reflection of reality, So this music is a Reflection of Glory.
Perhaps you wrestle with the impression that there is more to reality than we can see or touch. Perhaps you strive against some evil you find within yourself and long for victory. Perhaps you long to know the Truth more deeply than the slivers we glimpse in this life.
Come and see the glory of God as He orders reality to reflect His character, as He pursues and rescues His people, and as He claims victory over all opponents.
To God be the glory.”
Musically this album is really pieced into two parts; one part is really some fantastic driving symphonic melodic metal. Starting from album opener The Hound of Heaven a 12 minute tour de force of epic symphonic metal, which carries through many of the other tracks which are much more direct and succinct; Holy War, The Curse Within my Blood (is just a crushing riff and track WOW), Demons in Me, Battle of Alphas, Graves of Craving, Beyond Evermore all scream with melody, power and quite frankly are refreshing.
The production elements are again done to such a high level for home project, you might think it was done in a major studio. High praise I realize but after hearing many releases over the last several years that just left me flat, particularly with rather thin guitar sounds, I was greatly encouraged by this album.
As I mentioned earlier this album could be divided into 2 parts with the other part being a much more almost praise album/CCM territory. Now while I understand dynamics of any release the energy to these ears just seems to drop during such songs as Folly of The Fall, Sleep With the Lie, Dreams and the title track which is a closing keyboard instrumental which clocks in at nearly 9 minutes.
I would also temper my remarks by saying I admit I want a full album of METAL and by my own biases those songs just scream “skip”. You might find them enjoyable and think I’ve lost my mind. My only real criticism on this release is that Barry appears to struggle at times in the lower register when singing. To these overtly critical ears only truly apparent on the song Holy War, perhaps someone to help produce his vocal to add a little depth in emotion/power.
Playing this album in my DT770 headphones it sounds well balance and clean.
Reflection of Glory’s 2021 release Escape the Dream is a very enjoyable album on the whole. The apt description of Kamelot/Theocracy is quite appropriate. If you are looking for “real” Symphonic Metal look now further as this album is just what the “doctor ordered.”