Nathan Gross - Orchestrations/Keyboards
Alina Gavrilenko (Snowmaiden, DiAmorte) - Lead Vocals
Lucas McArthur (Solarus) - Guest Guitars
Sam Astaroth (Astaroth Incarnate, Iomair)- Guest Harsh Vocals
Hometown: London, Ontario
They are currently working on their full-length debut album Internal. The record will focus on promoting the awareness of mental illness, the exploration of dark thought processes, and personal struggle.
“Mental illness is something that affects us all, no matter how big or small. Being a very close topic to me and having been through some very dark emotions in my life, I felt I needed to channel my experiences through music, and write about some of the many mental illness’ that affect millions of lives today.” - Nathan Gross
The album is a constant reminder about the devastating effects of mental illness, and a reminder to everyone that you are not alone, and there is always someone to talk to.
“With big arrangements, dark timbres and textures, I describe it as a combination of cinematic metal, traditional symphonic metal, and other influences. Every song has its own unique character to express the mental illness/emotion that one is feeling within the present moment. I’ve been very excited seeing the music come to life. Alina, Lucas, and Sam have all made stellar performances and I’m so grateful and privileged to have them a part of this experience, they are all such amazing people. We are currently in the final stages of finishing this record, and are aiming to have it released by the fall. I can’t wait to have it released later this year.” - Nathan Gross
They have premiered two singles so far:
“The Weight of My Sea” describes the darker side of empathy, and how we can be overwhelmed by feeling other people’s emotional pain, feelings, and choices. Those are psychological aspects that can weight us down like a ‘sea’. ‘My Sea’ is a metaphor for one’s own mind or brain.
“My Schizophrenia” is ultimately about the struggles of schizophrenia and the voices feeding on the mind and sanity. Dealing with it every day is a constant struggle, and the song is a plea for inner peace.
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True to form, this song begins with atmospheric keyboards and choir-like voice accompaniments, which then brings in heavy drum blasts (albeit a drum machine) in double time. Within a minute of listening to this song, the listener is brought to the true tempo of the song that mixes in a background voice whispering to our ears, and Alina Gavrilenko's voice carries along like that of a siren singing from a far off distance that cannot be truly traced to any particular place; it is as if her voice is floating through the fog and haze of the sea.I am truly captivated and intrigued to continue listening to her hauntingly seductive intonations. Then we hear her voice much more clearly, as if she stepped out of the sea vapour to stand right next to me. I am captivated by her alluring stirrings of sordid tales.
We all bear the burden of our own story, our own emotional selves, and this song represents that burden. It can feel as heavy as trying to trudge through water, which we all know is not an easy task; it weighs us down and creates resistance. There are many of us who know the feeling of being weighed down by the burden of carrying emotions and life challenges. This song shares how one does experience the overbearing burden of carrying ourselves and carrying the burden of others on our shoulders. It is with great strength and fortitude that we are able to achieve victory and peace to survive the daily life challenges and setbacks.
Finally, I am impressed with the overall production and mixing qualities of this single. I cannot find any holes in this recording and I truly enjoyed “The Weight Of My Sea” from the beginning to the final keyboard ending. Clean, clear, invoking, heartfelt. Thanks to Haven Dream for your musicianship and devotion to this genre.
Now, before we get into the song, let's just get a quick criticism out of the way. My criticism about the track is the fact that the drums were programmed. I know that they're programmed because there isn't a name for a drummer in the band's bio. As I've said many times, I prefer all recordings to be kept as real as possible. Which means no auto-tune, no pitch correction, no programmed instruments, none of that. Whenever I find out that something is programmed on a recording, I don't get a comfortable feeling. Yes, I know that programming is a skill in itself, but my point is that when an instrument has been programmed, or a vocal has been put through auto-tone or pitch correction, then the authenticity is out the window, and I never like it when there isn't any authenticity on a recording. I guess that's mainly the musician in me talking, but even if I wasn't a musician, I would still be saying that. By the way, I'm in no way trying to sound like a snob when I say that. I'm just being honest and saying what I really think and how I really feel in the nicest possible way. Simply put, when it comes to performance, I just want recordings to be kept pure. Same thing applies for live performance. I could go into a whole rant about my dislike for programmed instruments, auto-tuned vocals, trickery and what not, but let's not make this about that. However, this criticism about the track needed to be addressed.
Now, just because I don't like that the drums are programmed, doesn't mean the song itself isn't good. Right off the bat, as the song starts, we are greeted by both soaring vocals and soaring keyboards, before exploding into a fast-paced, uplifting keyboard melody with double-kick underneath. Now, in comes Alina Gavrilenko with some astonishing vocals, where she hits some incredible high notes that mesmerized me. The orchestral elements give the track that cinematic feel, and would fit as a soundtrack to an epic battle scene. Later on, Sam comes in with some beastly vocals, giving this section of the song a bit of a black metal feel. According to the band, the lyrics tackle the "struggles of schizophrenia and constantly hearing voices, being stuck inside your own mind, and detached from reality because of it." A very powerful subject. The band said that the goal with Internal is to promote the "awareness of mental illness and the exploration of dark thought processes and personal struggle." That's amazing because those are very important topics that constantly need addressing. We thank Haven Dream for reaching out to us to give reviews of their two singles, and we look forward to hearing what else the band have to offer on Internal when released.