Harmony - Dreaming Awake


You know, you gotta love it when a band doesn't come out with a mediocre album on their first attempt.  Harmony just cuts to the chase and says "hey, do it right or don't do it at all!".  Dreaming Awake was just recently released on Massacre Records and Harmony has made quite an impressive start with this fine debut full of smooth melodic metal.  Right from the start with the intro "Into the Afterlife", this band grabs your attention and never lets go.  The first full song "Eternity" is a powerful and heavy song that drips of emotion and brings the issue of eternity to the table, asking difficult questions to the listener while declaring the message that "Christ can set you free". 
Henrik Bath handles lead vocals here and this dude has a fine set of lungs.  Many bands have the chops and not the vocals, but Harmony has both.  Musically, this is great stuff with the highlights being the mesmerizing guitar playing of Markus Sigfridsson.  Heavy when called for, beautiful and breathtaking when called for, with plenty of guitar solos inbetween.  The keyboard playing of Magnus Holmberg is excellent with every note perfectly placed, while adding great atmosphere to every song without over-powering the listener.  The band is rounded out by the great talents of Tobias Enbert on drums and Andreas Olsson (Narnia, Stormwind, Wisdom Call) on bass.  Speaking of Olsson, he brings a little bit of influence from his afore-mentioned bands, but nothing too overwhelming as Harmony forges their own path.
I'm usually not a huge fan of instrumentals, but Harmony has three instrumentals on this disc and I'd have it no other way as they are of great quality.  The rest of the songs whether they be heavy rockers or moving ballads, are hook laden and memorable.  My only complaint would be that I wish they would've strayed a little heavier at times, but this is not to say that the band doesn't have power.  If I had to pick some favorite songs I'd have to say "Eternity", "Dreaming Awake", and "Maze of the Past".
Production and artwork are well done, and lyrically the band does a great job.  Harmony occasionally delves into a little bit of a commercial hard rock sound, but for the most part, metal fans will love this disc.  I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of this band's debut and I'm excited for what lies ahead for this promising Swedish band.  (Review by Matt)