RENDEZVOUS POINT – Dream Chaser (Album Review)

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There are few things in this life – short enough as it is – that are worth waiting five years for. Perhaps it would be worth waiting five years for the love of your life. Perhaps it would be worth waiting five years for a career opportunity you have dreamed of since you were a child. Is there a piece of music worth waiting so long for? Five years filled with yearning, five years filled with hope, a desperate plea that a beloved band would not just return from hiatus, but return with something so spectacular as to delight and entertain the senses? 

The answer to this hypothetical is a resounding yes: Rendezvous Point was absolutely worth waiting for. This quintet’s latest album, “Dream Chaser,” follows five years after their acclaimed outing “Universal Chaos” in 2019, which itself came four years after their bombastic debut “Solar Storm” in 2015. The amount of maturity and hunger for excellence that has developed across each of these extended hiatuses is a wonder to behold. And it is that same hunger for excellence, and that same dedication to honing their sound with greater concentration than ever before, that has made “Dream Chaser” one of the most excellent albums in progressive rock and metal of all 2024.

“Dream Chaser” is an engrossing journey of sonic virtuosity from start to finish. Each track calls on the listener to sink into its polished splendor, and the star shine of its melodies glimmers with hope as the guitars open and give way to complex drum patterns. Songs like “Oslo Syndrome” are brimming with a dense and inviting groove, its hook instantaneous and compelling, before opening up to an explosive chorus. This track is both delicate and aggressive in a way that packs in a heavy-hitting rhythm from the bass without compromising the overall brightness of the band’s signature sound.

On the side of the sonic spectrum, “Fireflies” is an emotional masterpiece that grows in a lively fervor as vocalist Geirmund Hansen dances between verses with his impeccable charisma. He has a voice that is absolutely meant for this type of music, with not just a range that is well suited to high-flying emotional prog, but with force and power that cement him as a paragon of talent in this space. Surpassing his performance on “Universal Chaos” seemed an impossible feat, yet songs like “Utopia” and “Don’t Look Up” cement him as the burning star at the center of Rendezvous Point’s universe as he conquers new vocal heights.

“Dream Chaser” Album Artwork

And although “Dream Chaser” carries with it a largely wistful and dreamy shine, it has more than enough darkened heaviness to satisfy listeners of all predispositions. “The Tormented” is a beautiful dive beneath the turbulent waters of agony, thick bass lines pushing against punishing drums, each transition like another wave pounding against battered cliffs. And after an incredible journey through the heights of untempered hope and boundless despair, the final song “Still Waters” arrives like a tempest.

There is no better display of Rendezvous Point’s creative strength than this closing track, which is undoubtedly the most accomplished song of their discography, and a crowning jewel on “Dream Chasers” crown. It is magnanimous, its climax mounting with a crescendo of symphonic elements that could split the skies, and it cries out with the might of countless dreams and aspirations. “Still Waters” is breathtaking, immersive, and a testament to just how much Rendezvous Point has evolved to embrace a sound that is uniquely their own. And although it might be tempting to compare this band’s sound to other modern greats, Rendezvous Point deserves to stand on its own merits: this is an act that has clearly fought tooth and nail to make something that they are proud of, and that exceptional artistic desire shows through each note of “Dream Chaser.”

Perhaps there is irony in such enthusiastic lauding “Dream Chaser”, however, as deserved this praise might be, the album itself is about how perfection will always remain out of reach. The band has stated that “Dream Chaser” is about artists like themselves and their compulsion to chase perfection, although recognizing that true “perfection” does not exist, and how that desire leads to a lifetime of doggedly pursuing something that is ultimately unattainable. “Dream Chaser” feels like a cathartic exploration of this struggle while still running after that same impossible dream. The band’s stunning growth from “Universal Chaos” is evident, and it is something to revel in. Each musician’s skills have developed, and this band’s chemistry has created a synergistic harmony like no other. They have joined forces to make a piece of art that is all but untouchable in its exceptionalism. 

Rendezvous Point is also packed with a stunning lineup of musicians, featuring talents from drummer Baard Kolstad, best known for his role as percussionist for Leprous, as well as keyboard player Nicolay Tangen of Ihsahn’s band. There is no need to look to credentials, however: each musician in Rendezvous Point stands on their own merits, and “Dream Chaser” is more than enough proof of that. Their talents mesh and meld with a delightful harmony, highlighting each other’s talents with deliberation and intent. The lineup has also remained stable across the band’s tenure, and the artist growth across and between them contributes to the consistency in sound across the album.

“Dream Chaser” is a feat of excellence worth reveling in, and despite the darker themes that color its tense moments, there is a hopeful catharsis within that is sure to inspire and delight.

Released By: Long Branch Records
Release Date: June 21st, 2024
Genre: Progressive Metal

Musicians:

  • Baard Kolstad / Drums
  • Nicolay Tangen Svennæs / Keyboards
  • Geirmund Hansen / Vocals
  • Petter Hallaråker / Guitar
  • Gunn Hilde Erstad / Bass

Dream Chaser” Track List:

  1. Don’t Look Up
  2. Oslo Syndrome
  3. Utopia
  4. Fireflies
  5. Presence
  6. Wildflower
  7. The Tormented
  8. Still Water 

Order Dream ChaserHERE

9.0 Excellent

Rendezvous Point returns after a 5-year hiatus with a show-stopping display of sonic talent in their new album “Dream Chaser.” This record is a paragon of excellence that balances vibrant hopefulness against intricacy and intensity, with some of the greatest talent and ambition in the modern progressive metal scene

  • Songwriting 9
  • Musicianship 9
  • Originality 9
  • Production 9
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