Two years after Tom “TDW” De Wit released the prestigious The Antithetic Affiliation (2017, see review), his musical journey continues with a brand new album. Although the album tittle First Re-Draft might set you on the wrong foot, all compositions are freshly written and recorded by Tom and his full band; guitarists Lennert Kemper, Norbert Veenbrink and Joey Klerkx, bass player Peter den Bakker and keyboard player Vincent Reuling. Drummer Kenneth Martens is Dreamwalkers Inc.'s live drummer; his parts on the album are I guess at least partly programmed.
For those who are familiar with TDW's earlier albums it will not be a surprise that besides Dreamwalkers Inc. a fair amount of guest musicians have participated to complete the album. Tom asked a number of befriended vocalists to perform the choir parts on First Re-draft. One of them; Douglas Skene from the Australian bands Hemina and Anubis might be the most prominent name known the average progressive rock fan.
All the characteristics of a TDW album have returned on First Re-draft; intense instrumentation with a strong bombastic, symphonic base. Heavy riffing and furious soloing and defining choirs. I think those choirs and multi-layered vocal lines have become Dreamwalkers Inc. trademark. Another returning element are the fair amount of lyrics every composition holds. No surprise for people who are familiar with Tom in real life ;-).
Compositions like the powerful epic Innerburn, the emotion Your Room, including a brilliant guitar solo and the threatening final track My Loss are my personal highlights. But let's not forget about the pure melodic power of New Strength, which has the best defined instrumental midsection of the album. All recognizable TDW compositions.
First Re-Draft bridges the gap between Tom's previous band Mind Soul, which I highly regard and the new path he entered with his Dreamwalkers Inc. on the previous album. First Re-Draft holds the power of Mind Soul as well as bombastic multi-layered vocals and choirs. Those two elements preserve the perfect balance on (again) an amazing album.
****+ Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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