EP review: Dream State – Untethered

New year, new Dream State: Revamped Welsh post-hardcore crew unleash comeback EP…

EP review: Dream State – Untethered
Mark Sutherland

By rights, Dream State should be your favourite band by now.

Just a few years ago, they were one of the hottest bands around. Voted Best British Breakthrough at the 2018 Kerrang! Awards, 2019 debut album Primrose Path established them as serious contenders.

Then coronavirus intervened and almost three years of disruption later, it’s a very different band that releases their first collection of new music since the before times. Singer CJ Gilpin and guitarist Rhys Wilcox left last year, with sole remaining original member Aled Evans acknowledging: “The pandemic has been hard and hit us all in different ways.”

Aled has rebuilt the band, recruiting Jessie Powell (vocals), Jake Bowen (bass) and Tom Connolly (drums) in order to release this taster, three-track EP, but it would be no surprise if, musically, we found them in, well, a bit of a State.

Instead, Untethered is a remarkable ‘fuck you’ to the effects of career long-COVID, taking the Dream State 1.0 template and bending it into fresh shapes. CJ leaves some seriously big vocal boots to fill but Jessie brings both the snarling screams and swooning swoops required by Dream State’s trademark mix of mayhem and melody. And the increased prominence of electronic instruments, particularly on the closing Chain Reactions, moves their sound subtly forward into 2023.

Most importantly, they still write anthems to offer hope in a world teetering on the brink. Comfort In Chaos jams rave dynamics and ethereal vocals into an electro-metal banger, while Taunt Me channels total defiance, Jessie declaring: 'I always get back up / And I’m never giving up.'

Will that be enough to make them your favourite band? Well, that can wait for a more definitive statement than this EP. But Untethered is powerful proof that this Dream is still alive and kicking hard.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Bring Me The Horizon, Evanescence, PVRIS

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