DYECREST Album Review: “Once I Had A Heart”

“Once I Had A Heart”
Album Review by Iron Mathew


Dyecrest are a melodic metal band from Finland formed in 2003, releasing four albums to date – ‘The Way Of Pain’ (2004), ‘This Is My World’ (2005), ‘Are You Not Entertained?’ (2018), and ‘Once I Had A Heart’, emerging in 2023…

…coinciding with the bands twenty year anniversary! The band are a heavy hitting metal band with strong progressive touches, guitarist Matti Pasanen commenting “this is the album, which in my opinion reflects the sound of Dyecrest in the best way so far” – the line-up for ‘Once I Had A Heart’ consisting of guitarists Pasanen, Pirkka Ohlis and Henri Arola, drummer Niko Takala, bassist Jukka Matilainen, and former Metal De Facto singer Mikael Salo.

‘Once I Had A Heart’ is nine songs and forty four minutes of infectious melodic metal, the band keeping the listener hooked from minute one to minute forty four – the album coming to life with the bludgeoning ‘Sacred Sleep’. I say bludgeoning, but not in a brutal way – more like a crushing wave that covers you from head to toe in a warm melodic coating! I’d never heard Dyecrest before, but I’m fucking glad I have now – ‘Once I Had A Heart’ is one of those albums that grabs your attention and never lets go! Picking up the pace and breezing into life, ‘Man Made God’ takes on the persona of a progressive metaller, tempo changes aplenty along with an incredible atmosphere! The title song ‘Once I Had A Heart’ opens as though balladry is coming, yet the band have other ideas – hitting hard after thirty seconds to wobble the sturdiest of buildings! The albums progressive feel remains front and centre, ‘Once I Had A Heart’ (the song) a heavy hitter that’s gonna leave some bruises. Yet the melodious intent of the band shines so fucking brightly, each and every song heard so far has been a pleasure to listen to.

And methinks pleasure levels are just gonna keep rising, Dyecrest powering on with the mighty ‘Oathkeeper’, and a cacophony of thunder not heard before – mild aggression creeping through the albums melodious framework. There’s just so much more purpose and intent sewn into ‘Oathkeeper’ – the head bangers of the world warming to ‘Once I Had A Heart’ (the album), rocking their heads back and forth with a fair amount of gusto. Planting their feet firmly on the monitor and moving forth at a traditional heavy metal pace, ‘Face The Light’ is a glorious old school gallop of melodic metal, insanely infectious and highly sing a long-able. And the further the album progresses, the better and better it gets – ‘Read My Mind’ maintaining the recent upsurge in pace, adding a lot more energy too! This and the previous song have both been the best songs on ‘Once I Had A Heart’ (the album) so far – but with three more still to come, I reckon there may just be better ones yet!

And there is too! ‘Colder’ is the most energetic and infectious song heard so far, the pace and feel incredible as the band roar on with a meld of traditional and power metal! This mix is glorious – and by the way, it’s a mix of two of my favourite genres of metal. Dyecrest are delivering a heads held high heavy metal swagger straight off the top shelf – listeners, fans and followers smiling from ear to ear! And now the band are in full flight there’s simply no stopping them – ‘The Final Act’ claiming the “fastest”, “most melodic” and “energetic” descriptors of any song heard up to this point. The sensations felt throughout the last four songs have been unbelievable, a little drool beginning to ooze out! From where? Well that entirely depends on how emotionally moved you are by the metal on show! The albums final song ‘Fire From Your World’ clocks in at over seven minutes in length, opening with a mellow passage and soulful vocals, progressing to display a hymn-like nature with wonderful orchestration. With no pace and power to speak of, ‘Fire From Your World’ still manages to display the incredible infectious intensity of the album – an intensity that’s remained unbroken since minute one, song one.

Overall, a majestic march of infectious melodic metal, ‘Once I Had A Heart’ has pace, power, elegance and poise.


Sacred Sleep
Man Made God
Once I Had a Heart
Face the Light
Read My Mind
The Final Act
Fire From Your World


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