Dreadnought are a special group that have been flying way under the radar despite being at such a high altitude in their hometown of Denver, Colorado. Since their inception in 2012, they’ve been consistently putting out records that refuse to commit to the standards and expectations of what is deemed ‘successful’ when it comes to releasing music. They’ve been doing their own thing since day one and it is about damn time they receive some due recognition. With their first record, Lifewoven, they developed their tight niche in the massive realm of progressive metal and have stayed true to their identity ever since. The way that Dreadnought compose music is done in such a way as if there was no such thing as genres or styles of music, leading to nothing but incredibly organic and amorphous sounds that are near impossible to define succinctly. Put simply, Dreadnought’s newest record, The Endless, is a sound to behold.
As cliché and pretentious as it may be to say, Dreadnought are the very definition of what progressive (metal) music is all about in my eyes and ears. How effortlessly they integrate all these different styles and influences into a single living, breathing entity that has a beating heart of its own is no easy feat, even for the most established artists out there. For essentially every artist and band that falls under the wide progressive metal umbrella, I always find myself dissecting all the different influences and stylistic choices that led to the music sounding the way that it does as I listen. When it comes to Dreadnought, that subconscious mindset fails to kick in as I am completely infatuated and distracted with the musical concoction brought forth to my undeserving ears and that much is true on their latest effort, The Endless. Without fail, I am put under a hypnotic spell that I cannot shake myself out of until their records come to an epic close.
Continuous with their back catalogue thus far, Dreadnought blur the lines with their incorporation of most of the major metal subgenres, such as death, black, and doom, whilst deriving the dynamics and compositional structures around those flavors from other genres, notably that of post rock/metal. This doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface with all the seemingly countless stylistic embellishments sprinkled throughout the music at any given moment, including but not limited to jazz, folk, classical/orchestral, and electronic. Hell, there is even a doomy trip-hop passage that you’ll hear on “The Paradigm Mirror” that would fit right in as the soundtrack for the Shadow or Water Temple in The Legend of Zelda – Ocarina of Time. The musical mammoth that Dreadnought have conceived is never one thing but rather everything all at once in the most mystical way imaginable.
From the moment The Endless kicks off with the alluring siren song that is “Worlds Break”, you’re made clear that this record is going be as breathtaking and emotionally overwhelming as is depicted by the album artwork. Imagine that small silhouette at the bottom center is you and that you’re standing before a hellish gate that is the very means of your own survival, either by salvation or demise. Regardless of it being the matter between life and death, I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from being overcome with absolute wonder for a brief moment. That very feeling of wonder and awe that I would feel in such a scenario is instilled into me by this enchantingly majestic musical display and sustained for its entire duration.
One of the two features that I absolutely adore about Dreadnought’s music, which are found in multitudes across The Endless, is the dynamic exchanges between vocalists Lauren Vieira and Kelly Schilling, especially notable in tracks like “Worlds Break” and “Midnight Moon”, for example. Their voices complement one another so beautifully in a way that creates a constantly evolving sense of melody but simultaneously crafts the gloomiest soundscapes that make you feel like you’re Alice in some twisted Wonderland. The other is the bouncy piano work that effortlessly weaves through the rest of the band, providing the melodic worm that infests itself into your head for hours to come. In addition to the piano, you’ll hear plenty of twinkling chimes that pan across the music like a shooting star, fostering a feeling of tranquility in these lusciously haunting atmospheres. What would normally cause me to become overwhelmed with anxiety and fear instead is transformed into inner peace and admiration for the cosmic horrors set before me.
Dreadnought truly is a name that ought to be kept in the back of everyone’s minds when it comes to progressive music in general, as musical minds like this are what continue to push the genre forward with each successive release. Their latest effort, The Endless, is as blissful as it is hopelessly bleak with how it brilliantly paints celestial, post-apocalyptic sonic landscapes beyond our wildest imagination. With their utterly hypnotic soundscapes and infectious grooves, it is nearly impossible to not fully get sucked into the music and it couldn’t be any more obvious that the creativity and ambition that Dreadnought possess is endless.