Dreamtime - Dreamtime (Conquest Of Noise)
It’s been brow-beaten, down-trodden, emasculated and generally forced underground but hard ’n’ heavy rock and roll has never been fully wiped out these last 20 years.
Purists will tell you that it still exists in the cracks and crevices of grimy back-streets in a select number of cities. They’ll go on to say that the so-called power trio format is its most genuine manifestation because it allows each element to stand out in the sharpest of relief.
Dreamtime is a trio (two girls and a guy) from Brisbane in Australia’s sub-tropical north, a place where violent storms suddenly sweep in during the summer months and wash almost everything away. The time for storms in The River City is mid to late afternoon. Dreamtime’s slot is more probably the witching hour, when alcohol or drugged dulled senses in badly-lit rooms are prone to being rudely jarred awake by blasts of amplified sound.
Dreamtime’s debut album came out in 2011 and is now re-issued on fat black or coloured vinyl by the enterprising Conquest Of Noise label and distribution network. No matter if you missed it first time around. There’s a download code included so you have no excuse.
This is awe-inspiring stuff. Just five songs, each improvised to some degree and distinctive in its own righ. It's vaguely classifiable as Heavy Psych Rock. Guitarist Zac Anderson handles vocals when they spring up, but they’re often buried and subservient to the songs themselves.
The dissonant squal that announces “Slag” persists through the song like a raging toothache. It sits alongside bassist Catherine Maddin’s surreal, keening vocal as Anderson builds a wall of guitar over seven minutes and chimes in with his own spoken lyric. It’s as heavy as the most obtrusive song from Boris, the Japanese noise merchants who might be Dreamtime’s closest comparator.
On “Gympie” the trio locks into a blistering rhythm on the outro, picking up pace as Anderson’s guitar showers shards of sonic glass.
Tara Wardrop’s fluid and insistent drumming as the anchor point, dragging the band along on opener “Bermuda” against a cliff face of throbbing bass and rising and diving guitar. “I can’t see the light,” intones Anderson. You can hear why.
“Eve” is the closest thing here to light relief but the deceptively skeletal arrangement closes in on itself with swells of bass and guitar harmonics. There’s a climax and a descent into a valley of jazzy heaviness with Maddin’s deft but driving bass-line leading the way.
“Robe” sounds like the Yardbirds moonlighting with The Coloured Balls before morphing into a speed metal band. The only thing missing from the album is a Lobby Loyde production credit but that’s shared by the band and engineer Donovan Miller.
This will surface in select Brisbane record stores but your best bet for securing a copy of this before it disappears is online at Conquest Of Noise. Only a fool would walk and not run. There's a Bandcamp link below for the previous album and EP.