October 17, 2020

Season Of Dreams is a new project put together by the French multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Jean-Michel Volz and Swedish vocalist Johannes Nyberg with My Shelter being their debut album. Volz is the guitarist and songwriter for the French heavy rock band A Taste Of Freedom and Nyberg was the singer and keyboard player with Swedish power metal band Zonata and it seems that the remit for the new band was to be another power/heavy metal band based on the Swedish template but tempered with Gallic flair.

Volz plays guitars, keyboards, bass and drums with Johannes Nyberg’s brother John coming in to supply additional guitar. So far, all is fine but the concept just seems a little too forced and strained, the album does not feel organic at all and it should be as if it had grown out of a seed planted by the two musicians but it feels more like a test tube scientists idea of what a power metal band should sound like! Somewhere, something has been lost in translation and whilst all the correct boxes are ticked there is a vital spark missing.

The real issue is that Johannes Nyberg seems to struggle with the material and it’s not that he has a bad voice, you can tell he has the power and range but it just seems slightly at odds with the music and with what Volz is doing or maybe it is just that the final production was just a little off. If you look at the component parts then there is no real issue, Volz is a masterful musician and John Nyberg is a fine guitarist too and, in any other band, I’m sure that Johannes Nyberg’s voice would be phenomenal but I think all are trying just a little too much to be Symphony X, Rhapsody or Evergrey. I’m certain that if this was a band in the true sense of a band i.e. four or five musicians working together then the problems would have been resolved either before or during the recording stage. As it is there simply is too much happening at once and they have obviously subscribed to the more is more strategy. A re-think and a little bit of studio tinkering could most probably save much of the material here as there are good songs and performances on the album but, as it is, it’s a little bit of a mess.

I think the real issue is that the musicians have tried just a little too hard and have forced ideas and instrumentation together rather than letting matters evolve naturally. The ingredients are here for a fine power metal band but there is much work to do and a quality producer is most certainly required to bring the best out of the musicians involved.

My Shelter track list

  1. Before The War (1:56)
  2. In The Rubble (6:50)
  3. We Are Soldiers (4:37)
  4. The Land Of Forgotten Dreams (5:08)
  5. Acid Pouring Rain (4:25)
  6. Monsters (5:22)
  7. My Shelter (4:50)
  8. Soldier Without Command (5:17)
  9. Angel Forever (5:34)
  10. United (4:24)
  11. Worlds Collide (4:55)
  12. Mr. Blacky (3:24)
  13. From Creation To Chaos (4:30)
  14. After The War (2:17)