A Different Shade of Doom: Dream Unending and “The Needful” Expansion of Creativity (Early Track Stream)
The musical output by some of the most prolific bands during this pandemic has been absolutely incredible to watch take shape, especially when some of these musicians do something very different stylistically. Dream Unending is an example of this in particular, being a new project from Derrick Vella (Tomb Mold) and Justin DeTore (Innumerable Forms, many others) that's self-described as “doom metal Postal Service”. Or, to this listener, it sounds like heavy doom with an emphasis on atmosphere and slowly-churned beauty. At times their debut album Tide Turns Eternal feels like funeral doom without completely buying the farm before kicking back to the warm tones evoked by the album cover’s wonderful hues.
"The Needful," which we're premiering a visualizer for below, opens in a dreamlike state with guitar riffs seemingly coming in from another plane of existence before DeTore’s vocals enter the fray and begin to erode some of the beauty from the track. It progressively tugs at your heart strings with doom metal riffs, with gothic hints of My Dying Bride and Anathema sprinkled throughout for good measure. The guitar work is incredibly heavy and joyful, yet somber and crestfallen: an excellent dichotomy in sound.
Below, find an interview with Derrick Vella where we got down to just what this whole Dream Unending business is all about.
How have you been during these last 18 months?
Derrick Vella: I've been ok, thanks! Mostly invisible, not taking horse dewormer. Grateful to have my health.
Dream Unending marks a much different style than on your Tomb Mold records, what was the idea for the different direction?
It was sort of organic. We both love doom, goth rock, and Gary Moore. The rest sort of just wrote itself. I think we knew more of what we didn't want to be, and that sort of set the tone.
How did Justin and yourself come up with the Dream Unending concept?
I'm not even sure we knew the concept until nearing the finish line of writing. A lot of it came out in the recording process. The end result was something warm yet bright, and colourful. Definitely spiritual. I found the less we talked about doom metal and more about everything else we liked, it started to take form.
What is behind the color scheme on the album art?
You can thank the artist Matthew Jaffe for that. I gave him some reference material but he truly made the cover into something of his own. We nailed down the colours from multiple drafts and honed in on what resonated the most. Those blazing reds/orange and turquoise. We wanted something to match the warmth of the album sound.
What was the recording process for Tide Turns Eternal like?
Justin tracked his drums with Arthur Rizk in Philadelphia. He tracked them to my garage band demos. We are very pro. Once he was finished, I hitched a ride to Hamilton, Ontario and tracked the guitars and bass with Sean Pearson at Boxcar Sound. We sort of just worked through each song one by one, layering each guitar as we went. I think it took 3 days. Sean is always an absolute joy to work with. Justin and I were never in the same room for it. I haven't seen him since February of 2020. I didn't even know what the drums would sound like until he tracked it. Nice surprise.
What bands and/or records inspired the both of you for this project in particular?
The first 6 Anathema albums, Disintegration, Victorialand by Cocteau Twins, Pacific Ocean Blue by Dennis Wilson, No Other by Gene Clark, Richie Sambora, Pink Floyd, Bruce Hornsby (That should be obvious), Hats by The Blue Nile (the GOAT). A lot of other ones too.
What is "The Needful" about?
The needful is about facing your fears and finding the strength to overcome personal adversity. It's a nice little disorienting song. Ends beautifully, sets up what's left to come perfectly. Musically it's a 3 way tribute to Esoteric, Alice in Chains, and Joe Satriani.
Is this planned to strictly be a studio project, what more does the future hold for Dream Unending?
I imagine we'll be trying to book studio time to make another by the time Tide Turns comes out. One day we'll make it a real band, once someone builds me a lefty double neck 6/12 string guitar or else there is no point in trying to play these songs live. We'd also have to find people willing to put up with Justin and I. I don't know why anyone would ever subject themselves to that.
What are you up to besides music these days?
Aside from working to keep the lights on, I spend my time annoying my wife and talking to Justin about "Throwing Copper" by LIVE. Always writing songs though.
Anything else you would like to add?
Support Matthew Jaffe, Jesse Jacobi, 20 Buck Spin, McKenna Rae, Richard Poe, and be kind. Thanks for taking the time to anyone who has listened.
Tide Turns Eternal releases November 19th via 20 Buck Spin.