Dreamweb offers up a healthy 12 tracks and a sound strong enough to merit MIAB the status of being not just a "one hit wonder". The sound of the music takes a lot from trance, as most EBM in this day and age does. What it does to escape the 'trap' that trance has placed other popular ebm/future pop bands in though is to blend other elements of techno in with it. By doing this, the band takes a small page out of Front 242 and introduces some darker, more "industrial" synths. The band also does a lot to play with the vocals on each track, which in effect makes the band sound like it has more than one singer (which is far from the fact that it has only one.) While some of these tactics can be traced back to a band that sounds similar to this one (Icon of Coil), this one does not go for as heavily of a 'club' sound as Icon does. Rather, MIAB goes for a somewhat more song based sound, as they have much better lyrics than Icon does. They also seem to have a concept album of sorts with Dreamweb (which if you are curious about, you can view more on their website to find links to stories written about their songs.)
Song by song:
Tape Evidence- An introduction track with a somewhat haunting synthetic string melody in the background. The lead singer can be heard over it, talking about the shadowy going-ons in his life, which thus starts the story of this album. During this song samples of songs later on the album can be heard fading in and out, creating an actually interesting experience, and helps capture the concept feel of the album quite well. This continues for about 2 minutes before finaly a true song kicks in with a soft four on the floor drum beat and a matching synth line, as voices can be heard whispering in the background. The song then builds as layers are added and it finaly culminates with a loud haunting blur of wind as the lead singer can be heard. The song then slowly falls apart and then fades. This is probably one of the most creative intro tracks that I have ever heard.
Certainty- A very good song, starts up with more synthetic strings and the lead singer speaking of his experiences, trying to relate to the listener. The song then builds up underneath him and a more 'impish' voice can be heard speaking in (this actually being the lead singer using a voice distorter). The song then speeds ahead and a fast drum beat piles in along with an oscilating bass synth and floating string synths. The vocals swirl around on this track, creating some rather creative effects.
Lament for Lost Dreams- More techno oriented than the last song, but definently veined in electro. Starts up with the haunting strings, and the impish/computerized voice again. After a minute and a half a synth line kicks in and the voice swims around in this synth line as a minimal drum beat kicks around in the background. This is another creative track, featuring a nice swirly feeling that is dancable, but it doesn't stay constant enough, so it stays more 'song' oriented.
Machine Run- Hits the ground running with a guitar riff that then hammers and stays in the song, acting as a synth line of sorts. Another synth line joins it in the background, and then it stops as synthetic strings and a pulsating bass synth accompany the lead singer. His voice then switches to a harsh, evil whisper and the guitar returns. The guitar is then quickly joined by a clever high pitched synth, and then it stops again. A soft break-up section follows which then leads into a tranceish/ebm-electro synth line with the lead singer singing over it. The lead singer really sounds like the lead of Icon of Coil in places on this song.
Loyalty- More melodic then the past 4 tracks, starts out with a simple bass synth and then a soft synth line floats over it with a simple synth cymbal tapping over it. The lead singer then comes in. The song pretty much stays this way until the last third where it starts to go hay-wire and a few more synth lines join in and also a guitar accompanies the song on it's way out, giving it a more dramatic closure... ends with a fade.
Sun and Storm- Starts off with a slightly grinding synth line and then is covered by a trance synth and some splashing electronic noise. The lead singer then comes in, and imeediatily the song captures a good (yet commonplace) modern-day EBM feel.
Out of Time- Perhaps the best song on the album, very fast paced drum beat and lots of different synths and vocals effects being used. The chorus is also extremely catchy, something that definently needs to be heard.
Dead End- Features a powerful, grinding bass synth layered with electro-trance lines. Somewhat minimal on vocals, but definently features a more creative structure than most common-place EBM songs of this day and age.
The Dream- A kind of floaty, but still upbeat and fast paced ebm track, with a little bit of a synthpop vibe to it. A little similar to Certainty in terms of structure, but the lead singer doesn't use any voice distorter tricks.
Reflections- Intermission track, features a simple layered atmospheric synth line that echoes in and out as the lead singer is heard recording his voice. A guitar can be heard sloshing in and out in the background. The song finaly culminates with a guitar riff over some oscilating synth lines and the lead singer repeating the 'chorus' five or six times, and then finaly fades.
Between Worlds- The most similar "Icon" song on the album, but manages to keep away from completely ripping Icon off by having more intelligent lyrics and some song change-up. Also features a good number of vocal distortion effects. Kind of a 'centerpiece' of the album where everything sort of comes to terms, the 'climax' if you will.
Escape- If the last track were the climax, than this is definently the resolution. It is not without being open ended though. The lyrics are somewhat less creative on this track, as the chorus is repeated several times throughout the song. This is also the longest track on the CD. Opens up some synthetic synths and some slight wave crashing sounds as the lead singer comes in. The electronics then come in and start to mess with things before the song finaly starts up and the oscilating synth line and drum beat come over it. The lead singer then starts the chorus up. A very catchy song, and slightly emotional (in an odd way). Definently has a climatic feel, so it ends the album well.
In the end, Dreamweb is a good buy. It is rather creative and probabily is a definite contender for one of the ebm albums of the year. It's only shortcomings are that it seems to copy Icon of Coil in a few places, but this is excuasable for most listeners. The band actually improves on the Icon EBM sound for the most part.