REVIEW: RENDEZVOUS POINT – DREAM CHASER (2024)

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Rendezvous Point’s third album follows the acclaimed “Universal Chaos” effort and finds Leprous drummer Baard Kolstad and his merry band eager to push the boundaries some more.

And the thing sounds huge almost as soon as “Don’t Look Up” hits. Muse have filled stadiums with less.

“Oslo Syndrome” continues the vibe, with Kolstad finding a drum sound so big that Def Leppard circa “Hysteria” would have loved it.

It is striking too, how short the songs are – yes this is prog, but it is prog on a time limit, “Utopia” has a cinematic quality, and even one of the longest things here, “Fireflies” which is more than happy to bide its time before its more electro attack kicks in, is over and done inside six minutes.

If Kolstad is the most famous name here,  then Nicolay Tangen on those superb keyboards is in Ihshan’s band, but it’s singer Geirmund Hansen who astonishes. His voice is made for this type of thing,

There is, simply put, a class and a quality through this. Bands like Riverside would love to write “Presence” all brooding darkness and seething aggression, and the way it explodes into his hook is a joy.

Petter Hallaråker’d guitar is superbly versatile too. Metal riffing underpins “Wildflower”, not too far from the likes of Tesseract, yet it is adept at more pop elements too. It makes for a record of superb contrasts – often in the course of the same song.

“The Tormented” is well named, as it begins with almost a maelstrom of darkness swirling about, and it is as unsettling as this gets: “You don’t see the struggle,” says  (and the word is deliberately chosen given it feels like it is narrated) Hansen, and given that the band has spoken about searching for something on this album, what they discover here appears cathartic.

Only eight tracks – as if the focus here was solely on quality – the last one “Still Water” tinkles along on the piano with a fragile feel: “Where are the people that I love?” questions Hansen, but the way it builds underlines just how good this album is. Almost deliberately tying up the loose ends here, giving each member of the band a spell in the spotlight, it’s a fittingly brilliant end to a wonderful record.

“Prog” by nature is a broad coalition of things, Yes and Jethro Tull this is not, and although it is “metal” to a point, “Dream Chaser” does not chase Dream Theater and the likes either.

Instead, it is modern, wonderfully put together, and full of magnificent songs. Wherever Rendezvous Point is on the scale, just make sure you find it.

Rating 9/10

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